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Volume I Number II 

JUNE 1913 

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Joachim Among the Sheepcotes By S. Spencer Frontispiece 

Yasmin By James Elroy Flecker 77 

The End of the Lonely King By Norman Boothroyd 78 
Lines Spoken at the Opening of the Birmingham Repertory 

Theatre By John Drinkwater 79 

Millie By Katherine Mansfield 82 

Anger and Dismay By J. D. Beresford 88 

A Fresh Start in Music By E. J. Dent 97 

Epilogue ; II. By Katherine Mansfield 103 


The Theatre : 

Caps, Bells and Legs By Gilbert Cannan no 

Theatres in the Air By John Drinkwater 113 

Poetry By Lascelles Abercrombie 117 

The Novels By Hugh Walpole 123 

General Literature By Frank Swinnerton 128 

French Books : 

A Classical Revival By John Middleton Murry 134 

Recent French Novels By X. Marcel Boulestin 138 

Music By W. Denis Browne 141 

The Galleries : 

Mr. Max Beerbohm's Exhibition By Edward Marsh 143 
Independants and the Cubist Muddle By O. Raymond 

Drey 146 

Drawings by G. S. Lightfoot, J. D. Innes and Frances 


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Joachim Among the Sheepcotes 

By S. Spencer 


A Ghazel 

How splendid in the morning glows the lily : with what grace he 

His supplication to the rose : do roses nod the head, Yasmin ? 

But when the silver dove descends I find the little flower of friends 
Whose very name that sweetly ends I say when I have said — 

The morning light is clear and cold : I dare not in that light 

A whiter light, a deeper gold, a glory too far shed, Yasmin. 

But when the deep red eye of day is level with the lone highway, 
And some to Mecca turn to pray, and I toward thy bed, Yasmin, 

Or when the wind beneath the moon is drifting like a soul aswoon, 
And harping planets talk love's tune with milky wings outspread, 

Shower down thy love, O burning bright ! For one night or the 

other night 
Will come the Gardener in white ; and gathered flowers are dead, 




They brought him down from Kharmadin 
Beyond the narrow mountain pass 

That leads again to Murias — 
All pale, and worn, and deadly thin, 
And covered with sweet-scented grass, 

Upon a lordly palanquin. 

They set him on the silver bed — 
(The silver bed that seemed so small 

Among the pillars of the Hall). 
No sound was heard : no word was said, 
As secretly they worked the pall 

With shining moons of silken thread. 

The hours dragged heavy in their flight, 
Yet none paid heed unto the King ; 

There seemed no air of sorrowing 
As in the feeble candle-light 
They toiled at their embroidering 

With eager hands throughout the night. 

They shed no tear : they prayed no prayer, 
Nor gave the King a benison ; 

But when at last the pall was done, 
They covered him with heedless air 
All silently ; then, one by one, 

Crept out, and left him lying there . . . 




To you good ease, and grace to love us well : 

To us good ease, and grace some tale to tell 

Worthy your love. We stand with one consent 

To plead anew a holy argument — 

For art is holy. We, to whom there falls 

The charge that men may see within these walls 

The comely chronicle of comely plays, 

You, who shall quicken us with blame or praise, 

Desire alike but this, that here shall spring 

Such issue of our labour as may bring 

Fresh laurels to the altars that have known 

Service of men whose passion might atone 

For worlds than this more faithless, men whose names 

Are very life — aye, swift and urgent flames 

Of living are they. These are over us 

To lighten all our travel : Aeschylus, 

Euripides, the Sophoclean song, 

And Aristophanes who captured wrong 

In nets of laughter, lords of the Attic stage, 

The fourfold Greek dominion ; and the age 

Of nameless poets when the hope began 

To quicken from the blood of Everyman 

Into the splendour of Marlowe's kingly lust 

Of kingly life, the glory that thieves nor rust 

Can ever spoil, whose name is manifold — 

Ford, Massinger, Dekker, Webster aureoled 

With light of hell made holy, Middleton, 

Chapman, Beaumont and Fletcher, aye, and one 

Whom even these the lords of beauty's passion 

Might crown for beauty's high imperial fashion 

In classic calm of intellectual rule, 

Ben Jonson. Sirs, I am nor wit nor fool 

To speak in praise of him whose name is praise, 


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Whose word is on the forehead of the days, 
Shakespeare, our master tried and proved how well, 
Mortality's immortal chronicle. 

Under the warrant of these men we sail, 

And theirs whose later labour these might hail, 

Congreve and Otway : the Good-Natured Man, 

Proud tattered Oliver : Dick Sheridan, 

Who played at passion but free-born of wit 

Put scandal out to school and laughed at it ; 

These few that stand between the golden age 

When poets made a marvel of the stage 

And — do we dare to dream it r — an age that stirred 

But yesterday, whereof the dawning word,— 

Spoken when Ibsen spake, and here re-set 

To many tunes on lips untutored yet 

For speech Olympian, albeit pure of will, — 

Shall ripen into witness that we still 

Are countrymen of those glad poets dead ; 

The seed is sown, the barren days are sped. 

And they who sowed, are sowing ? He, beguiled 
By who shall say what envious madness, Wilde, 
Misfortune's moth and laughter's new wing-feather, 
Remembering now no black despiteful weather : 
Hankin, and he, the cleanser of our day, 
Whose art is both a Preface and a Play, 
And he who pities, as poets have pitied, life 
Of Justice reft, so driven and torn in Strife, 
And one who cries in Waste some news of man, 
And one who finds in the bruised hearts of Nan 
And Potnpey tragic and old yet timeless things : 
And that dead Playboy, and his peer who sings 
Yet of Cuchulain by the western sea — 


Opening of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre 

Of these is sown the seed that yet shall be 
A heavy-waggoned harvest, masters mine, 
Gathered by men whom now the immoderate wine 
Of song is making ready. 

In these walls 
Look not for that light trickery that falls 
To death at birth, wrought piecemeal at the will 
Of apes who seek to ply their mimic skill : 
Here shall the player work as work he may, 
Yet shall he work in service of the play. 
Nor shall you here find pitiful release 
From life's large pressure, nay, but new increase 
Of life made urgent by these master-men 
Who are our captains. Life, and life again — 
Tragic or brave, free-witted, gentle, signed 
Of beauty's passion or the adventurous mind, 
Or light as orchard blossom, motley wear 
But life's wear always — that shall be our care 
And all shall surely follow. What may be 
Hereafter— to the heavens, to us to see 
No will transgressing on the poet's wish, 
To you to judge the meat before the dish. 
May you that watch and we that serve so grow 
In wisdom as adventuring we go 
That some unwavering light from us may shine. 
We have the challenge of the mighty line — 
God grant us grace to give the countersign. 



MILLIE stood leaning against the verandah until 
the men were out of sight. When they were far down 
the road Willie Cox turned round on his horse and 
waved. But she didn't wave back. She nodded her 
head a little and made a grimace. Not a bad young 
fellow, Willie Cox, but a bit too free and easy for 
her taste. Oh, my word ! it was hot. Enough to fry your hair ! 
Millie put her handkerchief over her head and shaded her eyes 
with her hand. In the distance along the dusty road she could see 
the horses — like brown spots dancing up and down, and when she 
looked away from them and over the burnt paddocks she could see 
them still — just before her eyes, jumping like mosquitoes. It was 
half-past two in the afternoon. The sun hung in the faded blue 
sky like a burning mirror, and away beyond the paddocks the blue 
mountains quivered and leapt like sea. Sid wouldn't be back until 
half-past ten. He had ridden over to the township with four of the 
boys to help hunt down the young fellow who'd murdered Mr. 
Williamson. Such a dreadful thing ! And Mrs. Williamson left all 
alone with all those kids. Funny ! she couldn't think of Mr. 
Williamson being dead ! He was such a one for a joke. Always 
having a lark. Willie Cox said they found him in the barn, shot 
bang through the head, and the young English " johnny " who'd 
Deen on the station learning farming — disappeared. Funny ! she 
wouldn't think of anyone shooting Mr. Williamson, and him so 
popular and all. My word ! when they caught that young man ! 
Well — you couldn't be sorry for a young fellow like that. As Sid 
said, if he wasn't strung up where would they all be ? A man like 
that doesn't stop at one go. There was blood all over the barn. 
And Willie Cox said he was that knocked out he picked a cigarette up 
out of the blood and smoked it. My word ! he must have been 
half dotty. 

Millie went back into the kitchen. She put some ashes on 
the stove and sprinkled them with water. Languidly, the sweat 
pouring down her face, and dropping off her nose and chin, she 



cleared away the dinner, and going into the bedroom, stared at 
herself in the fly-specked mirror, and wiped her face and neck 
with a towel. She didn't know what was the matter with herself 
that afternoon. She could have had a good cry— just for nothing — 
and then change her blouse and have a good cup of tea. Yes, she 
felt like that ! She flopped down on the side of the bed and stared 
at the coloured print on the wall opposite, " Garden Party at 
Windsor Castle." In the foreground emerald lawns planted with 
immense oak trees, and in their grateful shade, a muddle of ladies 
and gentlemen and parasols and little tables. The background 
was filled with the towers of Windsor Castle, flying three Union 
Jacks, and in the middle of the picture the old Queen, like a tea 
cosy with a head on top of it. " I wonder if it really looked like 
that." Millie stared at the flowery ladies, who simpered back at her. 
" I wouldn't care for that sort of thing. Too much side. What 
with the Queen an' one thing an' another." Over the packing case 
dressing-table there was a large photograph of her and Sid, taken 
on their wedding day. Nice picture that — if you do like. She was 
sitting down in a basket chair, in her cream cashmere and satin 
ribbons, and Sid, standing with one hand on her shoulder, looking 
at her bouquet. And behind them there were some fern trees, and 
a waterfall, and Mount Cook in the distance, covered with snow. 
She had almost forgotten her wedding day ; time did pass so, and 
if you hadn't any one to talk things over with, they soon dropped 
out of your mind, " I wunner why we never had no kids . . ." 
She shrugged her shoulders — gave it up. (( Well, I've never missed 
them. I wouldn't be surprised if Sid had, though. He's softer than 

And then she sat, quiet, thinking of nothing at all, her red 
swollen hands rolled in her apron, her feet stuck out in front of 
her, her little head with the thick screw of dark hair, drooped on 
her chest. " Tick-tick " went the kitchen clock, the ashes clinked 
in the grate, and the Venetian blind knocked against the kitchen 
window. Quite suddenly Millie felt frightened. A queer trembling 

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started inside her— -in her stomach — and then spread all over 
to her knees and hands. " There's somebody about," She tiptoed 
to the door and peered into the kitchen. Nobody there ; the 
verandah doors were closed, the blinds were down, and in the 
dusky light the white face of the clock shone, and the furniture 
seemed to bulge and breathe . . . and listen, too. The clock — 
the ashes — and the Venetian — and then again—something else — 
like steps in the back yard. " Go an' see what it is, Milly Evans." 
She darted to the back door, opened it, and at the same moment 
some one ducked behind the wood pile. " Who's that," she cried, 
in a loud, bold voice. u Come out o' that, I seen yer. I know where 
you are. I got my gun. Come out from behind of that wood stack." 
She was not frightened any more. She was furiously angry. Her 
heart banged like a drum. " I'll teach you to play tricks with a 
woman," she yelled, and she took a gun from the kitchen corner, 
and dashed down the verandah steps, across the glaring yard to 
the other side of the wood stack. A young man lay there, on his 
stomach, one arm across his face. " Get up ! You're shamming ! " 
Still holding the gun she kicked him in the shoulders. He gave 
no sign. <( Oh, my God, I believe he's dead." She knelt down, 
seized hold of him, and turned him over on his back. He rolled 
like a sack. She crouched back on her haunches, staring, her lips 
and nostrils fluttered with horror. 

He was not much more than a boy, with fair hair, and a 
growth of fair down on his lips and chin. His eyes were open, 
rolled up, showing the whites, and his face was patched 
with dust caked with sweat. He wore a cotton shirt and 
trousers with sandshoes on his feet. One of the trousers stuck 
to his leg with a patch of dark blood. " I can't" said Millie, 
and then, " You've got to." She bent over and felt his heart. 
" Wait a minute," she stammered, " wait a minute," and she ran 
into the house for brandy and a pail of water. " What are you going 
to do, Millie Evans ? Oh, I don't know. I never seen anyone in a 
dead faint before." She knelt down, put her arm under the boy's 



head and poured some brandy between his lips. It spilled down 
both sides of his mouth. She dipped a corner of her apron in the 
water and wiped his face, and his hair and his throat, with fingers 
that trembled. Under the dust and sweat his face gleamed, white as 
her apron, and thin, and puckered in little lines. A strange dreadful 
feeling gripped Millie Evans' bosom— some seed that had never 
flourished there, unfolded, and struck deep roots and burst into 
painful leaf. " Are yer coming round ? Feeling all right again ? " 
The boy breathed sharply, half choked, his eyelids quivered, and 
he moved his head from side to side. " You're better," said Millie, 
smoothing his hair. " Feeling fine now again, ain't you ? " The pain 
in her bosom half suffocated her. *' It's no good you crying, 
Millie Evans. You got to keep your head." Quite suddenly he sat 
up and leaned against the wood pile, away from her, staring on 
the ground. " There now ! " cried Millie Evans, in a strange, 
shaking voice. The boy turned and looked at her, still not speaking, 
but his eyes were so full of pain and terror that she had to shut 
her teeth and clench her hand to stop from crying. After a long 
pause he said in the little voice of a child talking in his sleep, 
" I'm hungry." His lips quivered. She scrambled to her feet and 
stood over him. " You come right into the house and have a set 
down meal," she said. " Can you walk r " " Yes,' he whispered, 
and swaying he followed her across the glaring yard to the verandah. 
At the bottom step he paused, looking at her again. " I'm not 
coming in," he said. He sat on the verandah step in the little pool 
of shade that lay round the house, Millie watched him. " When 
did yer last 'ave anythink to eat ? " He shook his head. She cut a 
chunk off the greasy corned beef and a round of bread plastered 
with butter ; but when she brought it he was standing up, glancing 
round him, and paid no attention to the plate of food. M When 
are they coming back ? " he stammered. 

At that moment she knew. She stood, holding the plate, 
staring. He was Harrison. He was the English johnny who'd 
killed Mr, Williamson, " I know who you are," she said, 


The Blue Review 

very slowly, " yer can't fox me. That's who you are. I must 
have been blind in me two eyes not to 'ave known from the 
first." He made a movement with his hands as though that 
was all nothing. " When are they coming back ? " And she 
meant to say, ■■■ Any minute. They're on their way now." Instead 
she said to the dreadful, frightened face, " Not till 'arf past ten.'* 
He sat down, leaning against one of the verandah poles. His face 
broke up into little quivers. He shut his eyes and tears streamed 
down his cheeks. " Nothing but a kid. An' all them fellows after 
'im. 'E don't stand any more of a chance than a kid would." 
" Try a bit of beef," said Millie. '■ It's the food you want. Some- 
think to steady your stomach," She moved across the verandah 
and sat down beside him, the plate on her knees. " 'Ere— try a bit." 
She broke the bread and butter into little pieces, and she thought, 
" They won't ketch 'im. Not if I can 'elp it. Men is all beasts. 
I don' care wot 'e's done, or wot 'e 'asn't done. See 'im through, 
Millie Evans. 'E's nothink but a sick kid." 

Millie lay on her back, her eyes wide open, listening. Sid turned 
over, hunched the quilt round his shoulders, muttered " Good 
night, ole girl." She heard Willie Cox and the other chap drop 
their clothes on to the kitchen floor, and then their voices, and 
Willie Cox saying, " ;Lie down, Gumboil. Lie down, yer little 
devil," to his dog. The house dropped quiet. She lay and listened. 
Little pulses tapped in her body, listening, too. It was hot. She 
was frightened to move because of Sid. " 'E must get off. *E must. 
I don' care anythink about justice an' all the rot they've bin spout- 
ing to-night," she thought, savagely. <f 'Ow are yer to know what 
anythink's like till yer do know. It's all rot." She strained to the 
silence. He ought to be moving. . . . Before there was a sound 
from outside Willie Cox's Gumboil got up and padded sharply 
across the kitchen floor and sniffed at the back door. Terror 
started up in Millie. " What's that dog doing ? Uh ! What a fool 
that young fellow is with a dog 'anging about. Why don't 'e lie 



down an* sleep.'* The dog stopped, but she knew it was listening. 
Suddenly, with a sound that made her cry out in horror the dog 
started barking and rushing to and fro. " What's that ? What's up ? " 
Sid flung out of bed. " It ain't nothink. It's only Gumboil. Sid, 
Sid." She clutched his arm, but he shook her off. " My Christ, 
there's somethink up. My God." Sid flung into his trousers. 
Willie Cox opened the back door. Gumboil in a fury darted out 
into the yard, round the corner of the house. " Sid, there's some 
one in the paddock," roared the other chap. " What's it— what's 
that ? " Sid dashed out on to the front verandah. " Here, Millie, 
take the lantin. Willie, some skunk's got 'old of one of the 'orses." 
The three men bolted out of the house and at the same moment 
Millie saw Harrison dash across the paddock on Sid's horse and 
down the road. " Millie, bring that blasted lantin." She ran in 
her bare feet, her nightdress flicking her legs. They were after 
him in a flash. And at the sight of Harrison in the distance, and 
the three men hot after, a strange mad joy smothered everything 
else. She rushed into the road — she laughed and shrieked and 
danced in the dust, jigging the lantern. " A— ah ! Arter 'im, Sid ! 
A— a— a— h ! ketch 'im, Willie. Go it ! Go it ! A— ah, Sid ! 
Shoot 'im down. Shoot 'im ! " 



A Footnote on the Writings of H. G. Wells By J. D. Beresford 

MR. WILLIAM WATSON believes in Dickens but 
not in the future of the novel ; he has credited the 
former and discredited the latter quite explicitly in 
that new collection of his " The Muse in Exile." 
Dickens is presented as a fighter, and the nature of 
his belligerency is formulated in the couplet : " He 
did not fight to rend the world apart, He fought to make it one 
in mind and heart." I suppose the same thing might be said — by 
himself, at least — of any propagandist whose temperament was 
too mild to face the alternative of the sword. We see the magni- 
ficent excuse of the Church " militant," that description which 
was once so perfectly justified, but has no application to the 
incredibly padded gloves of the modern ring. The truth is that 
Mr. Watson's statement is absurd, a mere sentimental trifling 
with ideas. If I fight my enemy I have one of two objects in view ; 
either I desire to silence any further expression of his for ever, or 
I desire to convince him that I am the better man and that he 
had better not contradict me in future. I am not fool enough to 
suppose, however, that my thrashing of him will make him one 
with me in mind and heart. I know perfectly well that his object 
was the same as mine, and that if I had been beaten, I might have 
knuckled under, but I should not have adopted his accursed heresy 
in the secret places of my mind. 

The whole fallacy arises from the sentimentalisation of the word 
" fight." Dickens was no fighter himself, and he could not portray 
the fighter. His ideal was the sweet-tempered, flabby propagandist, 
whose weapon was the model of his own virtuous life. Dickens's 
only notion of a hypocrite was of one who covered a secret vice by a 
profession of virtue and humility. When he attempted to draw a real 
fighter, he always assumed that the person was mad. 

Let us descend, for a moment, to a consideration of that 
maligned and temperamental woman, Mr. F.'s aunt. I confess with 
joy that I share her contempt for the precocious, do-my-little-best 


Anger and Dismay 

spirit of Clennam. I, too, hate a fool, and envy that wonderful 
old lady's honesty in openly proclaiming the fact to the fool himself. 
I have often wondered whether Dickens had not once been con- 
fronted by the original of Mr. F.'s aunt ; pelted, perhaps — I 
sincerely hope so— with hard and well-aimed crusts of toast. 
I can imagine how he would have resented the bold expression 
and the militant act ; he who was so entirely incapable of running 
amuck. Virtue, not aggression, was his specific, and his ideal of 
virtue was mid -Victorian ; tainted with Samuelism. Was he not, 
after all, a Smiles of genius ? It is an amazing thought that all the 
great mid- Victorian figures in poetry and fiction were born during 
that extraordinary period of revolt which lasted from 1780 to 1830, 
and that they lived through the wonderful year of 1848 without 
learning a single lesson. . . . 

Is it that we may perceive here some formulation of the law of 
reaction, of the great and increasing beat of the pendulum with its 
long swing from century to century ? . . . 

Whatever the cosmic rule which shall account for the alter- 
nation, I turn with relief to the contemplation of the real fighting 
spirit. I was born to witness the opening movement of the diastole : 
and I have been so far affected by the impetus of my own times 
that no philosophic reflection will allay the irritation I feel when I 
consider the ideal of placid acceptance, of resignation, of pleni- 
tudinous satisfaction. It all appears so stagnant, so circumscribed ; 
involuted in fold after fold of snug complacency. 

Nevertheless in my youth my revolutionary spirit found little 
material to work upon. I was the son of middle-aged parents; I was 
hedged about by the old conventions, and I had not the wit or the 
originality to find a ladder or to tear a hole in the fence. The 
escalade, indeed, was not rapid when it came at last. My ladder 
had many rungs, and — to come after so long an introduction to 
the particulars of my present purpose — I willingly acknowledge 
that more than one rungwas made negotiable for me by the writings 
of Mr. H. G. Wells. 


The Blue Review 

The first of his books which nudged my attention was " The 
Wheels of Chance." From one point of view, it has little bearing 
on the subject of this paper. It is touched by the Smiles tradition, 
Hoopdriver's potentialities are those of the old disciple ; the best 
we can expect from him is application to study, he is an indeter- 
minate dreamer with no capacity for *iconoclasm. The same thing 
may be said of his expansion, Arthur Kipps. Both are studies of 
that undeveloped man who once appeared to their creator as him- 
self — himself at sixteen or so. We find a little passion in these 
two quite lovable little men, but it is only a weak explosion of 
hesitating temper. 

With " The Invisible Man," however, we have a clear sight 
of the true Berserker. Griffin comes before us a complete antithesis 
to the Kipps type— the union is a later development. Griffin is a 
selfish anarchist. Wrapped in that cloak of invisibility which was 
to serve him, he hoped, so much better than the wo If -shape of 
the Norse legends, he is bent on self- aggrandisement. As he 
develops, the lust of killing grows upon him, he is one against 
humanity and he dies fighting the world, his hands clenched, his 
eyes wide open, and his expression one of " anger and dismay." 
And always as I read that last wonderful account of his career, 
I forgive him for his obsession with self, for his pig-headedness 
and his ultimate futility. The form of him returns to visibility in 
my imagination as it returned to the sight of that little foolish 
crowd about him, glowing with those two fundamental emotions, 
" anger and dismay," — the very elements of man's revolt against 
imprisonment in the flesh. These are transcendental things ; and 
they are for me in this connection the basis of study. I take them 
naked and titanic as two essentials of the artist ; while I admit 
— not without a faint regret— that they are not the only essentials, 
and that they represent but two aspects, however well marked, in 
my image of Mr. Wells — who, by the way, is quite unknown to me 
except from his works. . . . 

With the invisible man, megalomaniac that he was, anger took 


Anger and Dismay 

precedence, and only defeat and death could bring dismay. But 
when the Berserker is transformed from beast to artist, it is dismay 
which represents the generating emotion, and it seems to me that 
it is of a type which is possible only to those who have the power 
of withdrawal from their surroundings. This elemental dismay of 
which I speak now, for instance, is of a type quite other to that 
felt by the sentimental Charles Dickens. His preoccupation with 
injustice of the Squeers pattern, had the peculiarly human quality 
which comes from intimacy with the world of men. He battered—- 
a little feebly perhaps-- at the heart of humanity, but always he 
kissed the gods' feet. 

Mr. Wells has had the power to stand aside from these pre- 
occupations, and I quote a passage from " The War of the Worlds," 
which has always appeared to me as certainly representative of 
phases of his own experience. <( At times," he writes, " I suffer 
from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world 
about me ; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere 
inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of the stress 
and tragedy of it all." 

The penalty imposed for the ecstasies of this abstraction, is a 
return to dismay, and thence to anger— partly, maybe, at the cursed 
spite which has saddled him with the recognition. The world of 
those far imaginings is such a fine place, that the immediate pre- 
sentation of the world as it appears, strikes the dreamer as a fierce 
impossible horror. He sees all too clearly that he is imprisoned, and 
if he were of the primitive Berserker type he would end in red rage, 
amuck among the unspeakable futilities of our present life. But 
the artist is confined by the necessities of his temperament, he is 
conscious before all of the urge to create rather than to destroy. 
In brief moments of madness he may flap his hands wildly and 
cry out, " Oh ! let us do something, for Heaven's sake, do some- 
thing to alter all this " ; but presently the old command will 
compel him once more, and he will settle down with little spurts 
of passion and impatience, either to create a picture of the thing 


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he desires, or to display his own vision of the repulsive thing 
which the mass of mankind accepts as the best of all possible worlds . 
It is these spurts of passion and impatience, symptoms of the 
transcendental dismay and anger of the spirit, that have evoked 
this tentative analysis. I find them mirrored in the persons of Mr. 
Wells's stories : in Lewisham's attack upon the sheep-faced 
Parkson ; in Graham , the sleeper, when he is in the " Silent 
Rooms " ; in the time-traveller when " he raved to and fro, 
screaming and crying upon God and Fate " ; in Bedford (another 
Berserker) blindly killing the Selemites ; in Capes smashing glass 
in his preparation room ; in George Ponderevo and Remington, 
though somewhat more restrained ; in other characters too nu- 
merous to instance ; and finally with a growing difference in 
Trafford. I have picked out my examples haphazard as they have 
occurred to me, but I believe that there is hardly a novel or a 
romance by Mr. Wells in which the signs of this primitive anger 
cannot be discerned, while I cannot recall (to mark my early 
antithesis) a single true instance of the same passion in all the 
novels of Dickens — the nearest approach to it is in the portrait of 
Mr. F.'s aunt. . . . 

I am laying stress on this contrast not because I wish in any way 
to belittle the genius of Dickens — for whose work I have a great 
admiration— but because I wish to thrust a particular distinction 
into prominence. It may seem that I have indicated the distinction 
as that between the fighting and the merely propagandist spirit, 
but the thing goes deeper than this. As I see it, indeed, it is a 
difference between two fundamental attitudes of mind, between 
the spirits of acceptance and rejection, between worshipping, 
idealising the past and glorying in the possibilities of the future. 

Mr. Wells, if my induction is a true one, has little or no respect 
for the past. His war is not against individuals but against con- 
ventions. He comes out of the transcendental, a bright unpreju- 
diced spirit aghast at the dull prejudices of our civilisation. He 
sees our futility, our indolence of mind, our blind leaning upon 


Anger and Dismay 

tradition, and it may be that his first impulse was to explain in a 
few clear sentences the mistakes under which we are labouring, 
to make one definite statement so incredibly convincing that the 
world would at once recognise its stupidity. 

That impulse, indeed, is the primitive urge of genius. The 
remedy proposed is of less importance than the great desire to 
reconstruct. It was in this that Nietzsche was magnificent ; while 
his disciples (including Strindberg) have failed, in as far as they 
have adopted only the critical premises and neglected the con- 
structive deduction. 

But neither Mr. Wells nor any other prophet, however inspired, 
can build until he has persuaded mankind to clear the site, and in 
the present case I see a life work devoted to that magnificent task. 
His methods may be divided broadly into two categories : a 
criticism of the present building and an exhibition of the new 

The first category must be subdivided. Under one head falls 
all that is merely analysis of existing conditions, all that critical 
attack which admits the stereotyped response, " Have you anything 
better to offer ? " Under the other with which alone I propose to 
deal, our civilisation is shown by romantic means to be ephemeral. 
The assault is shifted from the convention to the individual. The 
endeavour represents the attempt to persuade complacent, bigoted, 
unthinking man that his civilisation is impermanent, to lift him 
momentarily from his contemplation of his surroundings and give 
him wider vision. 

Many of Mr. Wells's romances fulfil this purpose. As I think of 
that list of books, I remember first how they gave me the delight 
of living in a changed world, and secondly how they led me to 
understand that all life, as I knew it, was open to criticism; that it 
was a phase in evolution, and not, as I had once believed, essential, 
ordained and static. Those books (I may instance more particularly 
the " Food of the Gods," " The War of the Worlds," *' The First 
Men in the Moon," " The War in the Air," and certain shorter 


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stories, lifted me from my contemplation of my immediate sur- 
roundings. While I read I gloried in the freedom of moving in 
new worlds. This uplifting was due to my author's gift of presen- 
tation, and if the effect produced had been no other than this, I 
must have written down these romances as a failure. If,for instance, 
Mr. Wells's romances had been of the same quality as those of 
Jules Verne — to whom he has been so foolishly and purblindly 
compared — I should have come back to earth unaltered. I should 
have had the new experience of exploring air or water in an un- 
known machine, but I should have had no new sight of the world 
from the outside. 

In the case of the five books I have mentioned, the effect upon 
myself was permanent, I had been led to look down upon the whole 
machinery of civilisation from outside. My habit of thought with 
regard to life was broken. If I did not believe in the possibility of, 
say, such a discovery as Herakleophorbia IV., I did very truly 
believe henceforward in the essential instability of society. 

(It may be remarked that I have omitted " The Time Machine," 
and " The Sleeper Awakes " from my list. I have done so because 
these two books vary quite definitely in intention and method. 
They do not break but develop ; they are in no real sense con- 
structive. "The Sea Lady," " The Island of Dr. Moreau," and 
" The Wonderful Visit," I have omitted for other reasons. They 
are more nearly allegories of the older type, and while I do not 
fail to perceive the essential allegory of " The Food of the Gods," 
the constructive intention of that work places it in the other cate- 
gory. If Mr, Wells had written only the first five romances men- 
tioned in this interpolation, he might with some slight show of 
reasonableness have been likened to Jules Verne.) 

I see that I have laid myself open to a charge of egotism in 
thus laying stress upon the effect which these books have had 
upon my own mind. But I have adopted the first person deliberately 
because I have found that the majority of readers have read Mr. 
Wells's romances as they might have read those of the ordinary 


Anger and Dismay 

author ; and so have come back to earth unchanged. And when 
I consider this amazing blindness and engrossment in personal 
affairs, I suffer a reflex of that primitive dismay and anger. I desire 
fiercely to expound and am brought back to that realisation which 
led me to this long parenthetical explanation, and examination of 

For we are confronted with the extraordinary difficulty of 
opening men's eyes, I have touched briefly on the method of the 
first category, and the second I must dismiss briefly. This ex- 
hibition of the new plans is to be found in such books as " The 
Days of the Comet," and " A Modern Utopia," but it appears to 
me that men will not seriously regard the new until they have 
become dissatisfied with the old, and that they turn from these 
pictures of a brighter future with the comment, " Very pretty, 
no doubt, but we have to live in the world as it is." 

I see that this imaginary remark directly contradicts the spirit 
of that earlier reply I put into the mouth of mankind, namely, 
" Have you anything better to offer ? " but the contradiction is 
not mine. In my opinion mankind as a whole is as I have thus 
drawn it. I find both remarks perfectly characteristic of the same 
type. Both arise from a failure to look out, from the elementary 
inability to withdraw momentarily from the immediate pressure 
of life. . . . 

So I return— perhaps by a personal example— to a defence of 
that " anger and dismay " with which I began. I have heard these 
fine passions criticised, and I am up in arms to exalt them. I am 
willing to beg the question that they are effects and not causes, but 
I find that that assumption in no way weakens my championship. 
For I know nothing of prime causes, and I believe that admission 
is implicit in all that I have written here, as I believe also that the 
unthinking adoption of a cut and dried cosmogeny is responsible 
for much of the blindness which Mr. Wells has so valiantly 
attempted to cure. 

AH that I have so feebly and curtly attempted to champion is 


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the militant spirit that lies behind all that has been expressed by 
these various books, combining so many methods, of Mr. Wells. 
To me the purpose of them is not many but one. I am conscious 
of man triumphant in thought, battering not altogether vainly at 
the feet of the gods. I see man regarding the limitations of the 
flesh with anger and dismay. 



MUSIC is in the melting-pot, we are told nowadays. 
Was there ever a time when this could not be said ? 
The great upheavals associated with the names of 
Monteverdi or Wagner may be perhaps considered 
to have been exceptional ; twenty years ago, say 
both revolutionaries and reactionaries, there was 
peace and tranquillity, steady progress and obedience to sound 
tradition. Yet a reference to Dr. W. H, Hadow's " Studies in 
Modern Music " (second series, 1895) will show us that in those 
days it was necessary to make an elaborate apologia for the au- 
dacities and originalities of Dvorak, a composer who appears now 
to be remembered only by an occasional amateur performance of his 
chamber- music. If we are conscious of a state of flux at this moment, 
the cause is to be sought elsewhere. The real change that has taken 
place in the last twenty years is the enormous development of 
musical intelligence in this country. The general public is more 
interested in music ; it is even beginning to be interested in its 
young English composers. This interest has to some extent raised 
the standard of their work. Twenty years ago the young English 
composer was an obedient and industrious lad who thought it 
the highest of compliments when his teacher in a moment of 
cordiality said that his work quite suggested Parry or Stanford ; 
and far away in the distant heavens shone the star Brahms, whom 
all were told to worship, though none could ever hope to imitate 
him. The young composer of to-day seems much more determined 
to be himself and himself only : if he is told that his works have a 
flavour of Vaughan Williams or Delins he feels quite rightly 
that that is not what he is aiming at, however deeply he may 
admire either musician. His teachers are consequently beginning 
to find out that the old methods of teaching composition will not 
last much longer, and the problem of finding new methods is an 
extremely difficult one. 

Teachers of composition tend to fall into two groups, which 
we may call the academics and the modernists. The results of 


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their instruction may be observed at any concert where our young 
composers' works are performed. If we except the few who show 
a really strong individuality of their own, the crowd of the second- 
rate either goes on writing well-constructed sonatas and sym- 
phonies of the Brahms period and even earlier, or it gives us 
symphonic poems and " fantasies " which sound very modern 
at first, but which after a few years time, if not sooner, are 
seen to consist merely of a string of journalistic cliches borrowed 
from the foreign composers in vogue at the moment. 

It is the teachers of the second class who constitute the real 
danger to our national music. The work of the second-rate aca- 
demic is so dull that there is no risk of its having any influence 
on the public, and the first-rate pupil of an " academic " school 
is probably the better, if he is a real genius, for the careful training. 
As long as pupils are taught to think logically in terms of music, 
they are safe, and to grasp even the externals of academic sonata- 
form requires a certain amount of musical reasoning. The modern- 
ist does not teach his pupils to think in sounds. Sonata-form, 
he says, is obsolete, and he may very well be quite right on this 
point. But has he any constructive principle to put in the place 
of it ? If one can judge by such results as come to a hearing, he 
apparently has not. The general rule given to the young composer 
seems to be that he must let the shape of his work be determined 
merely by the story chosen for illustration, and that logic may 
take care of itself, as long as the orchestration is effective, that is, 
as long as the orchestral effects sound sufficiently like those which 
have been made familiar to the writers by Strauss, Debussy or 

The tendency of the age, we are told, is towards orchestral 
music. Pure line, say the modern critics, has had its day, and the 
future is to express itself mainly in terms of colour. For the further 
elaboration of this thesis the word " Post-Impressionism " will 
be found very useful. Having no knowledge whatever of the 
art of painting, I must apologise for being compelled to restrict 


A Fresh Start in Music 

myself to the technicalities of music. Helmholtz adopted the word 
Klangfarbe — tone-colour — as a German equivalent of timbre — 
quality of tone ; but I see no reason to suppose that the function 
of "tone-colour " in music is therefore identical with that of colour 
in painting. The survival of the word chromatic is proof that 
musicians of an earlier age had completely different views on the 

We must not be misled by false analogies and picturesque 
phrases. When critics tell us that modern music depends mainly 
on colour, they simply mean that they themselves are satisfied 
with music that presents certain varieties of quality of tone, 
obtained either by combinations of orchestral instruments, or 
possibly even by combinations of notes sounded simultaneously 
on one instrument. The rapid complication of the mechanical 
resources by which music is made audible has in fact dazzled many 
people so completely as to make them forget the absence of that 
logical sense of continuity of thought which is the only foundation 
of true music. 

This tyranny of the instrument forms the subject of an in- 
teresting paper by Ferruccio Busoni in a recent number of the 
German weekly, Marz. The article bears the title Neuer Anfang, 
" a fresh start." If a young composer writes as he feels, his teacher 
will be sure to tell him that he does not know-how to write for the 
instruments. " Look at the scores of W T agner or Strauss," he will 
say, " and learn from them how to score effectively." The result, 
says Busoni, is that every modern orchestral work presents us 
with the same complex of sounds— the violoncellos always trem- 
bling with exuberance of emotion, the horns making the most of 
their natural hesitance of attack, the hautboys always breathless 
and embarrassed, the clarinets always ostentatious of their voluble 
facility. There is no room for originality of thought, it is crowded 
out by the necessity of conforming to the conventional modern 
technique. Beethoven, almost alone among modern composers, 
ignored the requirements of the instruments, and made them play 


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what he wished. Poor old Beethoven ! say the teachers of composi- 
tion ; he was deaf and had no idea of orchestration. 

" The born creator of the future," continues Busoni, " will first 
of all have to face the responsibility of setting himself free from 
all that he has learnt at school, all that he has heard at concerts, 
all that is reputed to be " musical " ; and when he has cleared 
his mind of all that is unnecessary, he will have to bring himself 
into a state of ascetic and devout concentration, which will enable 
him to listen to the secret voice within him, and ultimately to 
arrive at the further stage of communicating this message to 

All this is perhaps less revolutionary than it appears at first 
sight. We are to give up considering the technique of instruments, 
and cimply write abstract music, indifferent to the means employed 
for translating the signs into sounds. Beethoven's posthumous 
quartets, I imagine, show some sort of attempt to work on the lines 
indicated. But the Giotto of the musical renaissance, as Busoni 
calls him, will have to be a very much greater man than even 
Beethoven, and we may be pretty certain that his contemporaries 
will have a proportionately greater difficulty in understanding him. 
In the meanwhile, what can we ordinary mortals do towards 
turning Busoni's advice to some sort of account ? It is useless to 
set about finding a Giotto, but we can at least try to prepare the 
way for him. The main thing is that we should concentrate our 
attention on thinking musically, or grasping the principles of 
musical logic. We must learn to insist on truth and sincerity in the 
works which are put before us, we must learn to refuse all that is 
merely formal and traditional, all that dreary waste of artificial 
art which charitable critics describe as *' very musical " — the sad 
equivalent of what in literature is classed as " scholarly verse," 
This does not mean that we must burn all our classics, still less 
that we should throw in our lot with the party of programme- 
music. It is the writers of programme-music, more than any others, 
who have fallen victims to the tyranny of the instruments. Let us 


A Fresh Start in Music 

learn all we can from the classics, let us love them if we will, but 
let us beware of reverencing them. Moreover, if we are going to 
study the classics, let us study them widely (not confining our 
attention solely to Bach, Beethoven and Brahms), and study thera 
always with a critical eye, never accepting any work as great 
merely because it bears the name of a great man. 

In the case of composers, a good case may be made out for a 
more restricted investigation of the music of the past. Verdi 
advised his pupils to take no notice whatever of modern music. 
They were to work hard at fugue- writing, probably in a rather 
severe style, and to study no classics apparently, except Palestrina 
and Marcello, the latter as being the best possible model for the 
declamation of the Italian language. The selection of these two 
composers (the English reader may substitute Byrd and Purcell 
if he likes) shows us that Verdi realised the same essential point 
which underlies Busoni's counsels of apparent anarchy. We can 
perfectly well afford to make a bonfire of all our instruments, for 
the best of all instruments will still be left to us—the human voice. 

Even if we keep our instruments, it is undoubtedly on singing 
that all musical education must be based, whether for the ordinary 
amateur or for the Beethoven of the future. No one can enter fully 
into the understanding of music unless he can feel every musical 
idea from the point of view of the man who first conceived it and 
used his voice to express it. The experience of controlling our lungs 
and vocal cords is the best possible training, if rightly planned, for 
the perception of the rhythmical continuity of sound which is 
the basis of music. Voices have their limitations, we are told ; but 
have we considered what we might have achieved had we from 
the days of Jubal devoted as much physical labour to singing as we 
have done to playing instruments, and as much intellectual energy 
as has gone to the development of speech ? All instrumental music > 
except in so far as it is derived from the primitive tom-tom, is 
originally an imitation of singing, and it is barely two hundred 
years since the artistic supremacy of the voice began to be con- 


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tested. It is the last hundred years that has brought about the 
disastrous virtuosity of the orchestra, the perfection of instru- 
mental mechanism which has made the instruments less human 
and personal in their expression in proportion as they have 
become more elaborate in their technique. The primitive hautboy, 
for instance, was the nearest approach that its maker could con- 
trive towards an imitation of the human voice ; the modern haut- 
boy claims a separate individuality, and has stultified its improve- 
ment in fluency and in accuracy of intonation by an exaggeration 
of its characteristic deficiencies. Music has to be written for it 
which will draw attention to its being a hautboy and not any other 
instrument, and in this way the situation has gradually arisen 
that it is the over-development of mechanical facilities which is 
blocking the composer's way to real originality. For the present, 
it is probably in the sphere of chamber-music that we may hope 
for some attempt to make real progress. The stringed instruments 
are less tyrannical, they approach more nearly to the ideal of a 
normal type of musical sound which can be utilised (as Beethoven 
showed) for almost any idea which the composer wishes to express. 
The string quartet is almost the only form of music that has had 
an absolutely continuous history for two hundred years. Debussy 
and Ravel have found it as satisfactory a medium as Scarlatti 
for the expression of pure musical thought. It is often said that 
modern conditions are not favourable to its development ; but 
the fact remains that the most modern composers, even if they 
employ the form but rarely, do at least continue to make use of it, 
and that section of the public which is seriously interested in 
music continues, though in small numbers, to listen to them. Until 
we have recovered the use of our own voices, it seems that it is 
from writers of quartets that we may most reasonably expect 
new departures — departures that are really new, and that will 
lead along a road from which there need be no turning back. 

1 02 


" / met a young virgin 
Who sadly did moan , . ." 

THERE is a very unctuous and irritating English proverb 
to the effect that " Every cloud has a silver lining." 
What comfort can it be to one steeped to the eyebrows 
in clouds to ponder over their linings, and what an un- 
pleasant picture-postcard seal it sets upon one's tragedy 
— turning it into a little ha'penny monstrosity with a 
moon in the left-hand corner like a vainglorious threepenny bit ! 
Nevertheless, like most unctuous and irritating things, it is true. 
The lining woke me after my first night at the Pension Seguin 
and showed me over the feather bolster a room as bright with 
sunlight, as if every golden-haired baby in Heaven were pelting 
the earth with buttercup posies. " What a charming fancy ! " I 
thought. " How much prettier than the proverb. It sounds like a 
day in the country with Katherine Tynan.' . . . And I saw a 
little picture of myself and Katherine Tynan being handed glasses 
of milk by a red-faced woman with an immensely fat apron, while 
we discussed the direct truth of proverbs as opposed to the 
fallacy of playful babies. But in such a case imaginary I was ranged 
on the side of the proverbs. (< There's a lot of sound sense in 'era," 
said that coarse being. " I admire the way they put their collective 
foot down upon the female attempt to embroider everything. 
' The pitcher goes to the well till it breaks.' Also gut. Not even 
a loophole for a set of verses to a broken pitcher. No possible 
chance of the well being one of those symbolic founts to which 
all hearts in the forms of pitchers are carried. The only proverb 
I disapprove of," went on this impossible creature, pulling a spring 
onion from the garden bed and chewing on it, " is the one about a 
bird in the hand. I naturally prefer birds in bushes." " But," 
said Katherine Tynan, tender and brooding, as she lifted a little 
green fly from her milk glass. " But if you were Saint Francis, the 
bird would not mind being in your hand. It would prefer the white 
nest of your fingers to any bush." ... I jumped out of bed and 


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ran over to the window and opened it wide and leaned out. Down 
below in the avenue a wind shook and swung the trees ; the scent 
of leaves was on the lifting air. The houses lining the avenue were 
small and white. Charming, chaste looking little houses, showing 
glimpses of lace and knots of ribbon, for all the world like country 
children in a row, about to play " Nuts and May." I began to 
imagine an adorable little creature named Yvette who lived in one 
and all of these houses. . . . She spends her morning in a white 
lace boudoir cap, worked with daisies, sipping chocolate from a 
Sevres cup with one hand, while a faithful attendant polishes the 
little pink nails of the other. She spends the afternoon in her tiny 
white and gold boudoir, curled up, a Persian kitten on her lap, 
while her ardent, beautiful lover leans over the back of the sofa, 
kissing and kissing again that thrice fascinating dimple on her left 
shoulder. . . . when one of the balcony windows opened, and a 
stout servant swaggered out with her arms full of rugs and carpet 
strips. With a gesture expressing fury and disgust she flung them 
over the railing, disappeared, reappeared again with a long-handled 
cane broom and fell upon the wretched rugs and carpets. Bang ! 
Whack ! Whack ! Bang ! Their feeble, pitiful jigging inflamed her 
to ever greater effort. Clouds of dust flew up round her, and when 
one little rug escaped and flopped down to the avenue below, like a 
fish, she leaned over the balcony, shaking her fist and the broom at it. 
Lured by the noise, an old gentleman came to a window op- 
posite and cast an eye of approval upon the industrious girl and 
yawned in the face of the lovely day. There was an air of detach- 
ment and deliberation about the way he carefully felt over the 
muscles of his arms and legs, pressed his throat, coughed, and 
shot a jet of spittle out of the window. Nobody seemed more sur- 
prised at this last feat than he. He seemed to regard it as a small 
triumph in its way, buttoning his immense stomach into a white 
pique waistcoat with every appearance of satisfaction. Away flew 
my charming Yvette in a black and white check dress, an alpaca 
apron, and a market basket over her arm, 


Epilogue : II. 

I dressed, ate a roll and drank some tepid coffee, feeling very 
sobered. I thought how true it was that the world was a delightful 
place if it were not for the people, and how more than true it was 
that people were not worth troubling about, and that wise men 
should set their affections upon nothing smaller than cities, heavenly 
or otherwise, and countrysides, which are always heavenly. With 
these reflections, both pious and smug, I put on my hat, groped 
my way along the dark passage and ran down the five flights of 
stairs into the Rue St. Leger. There was a garden on the opposite 
side of the street, through which one walked to the University 
and the more pretentious avenues fronting the Place du Theatre. 
Although autumn was well advanced, not a leaf had fallen from 
the trees, the little shrubs and bushes were touched with pink and 
crimson, and against the blue sky the trees stood sheathed in gold. 
On stone benches nursemaids in white cloaks and stiff white caps 
chattered and wagged their heads like a company of cockatoos, and, 
up and down, in the sun, some genteel babies bowled hoops with a 
delicate air. What peculiar pleasure it is to wander through a strange 
city and amuse oneself as a child does, playing a solitary game. 

" Pardon, Madame, mais voulez-vous "... and then the 
voice faltered and cried my name as though I had been given up 
for lost times without number ; as though I had been drowned in 
foreign seas, and burnt in American hotel fires, and buried in a 
hundred lonely graves. " What on earth are you doing here ? " 
Before me, not a day changed, not a hairpin altered, stood Violet 
Burton. I was flattered beyond measure at this enthusiasm, and 
pressed her cold, strong hand, and said " Extraordinary ! " 

" But what are you here for ? " 

"... nerves." 

" Oh, impossible, I really can't believe that." 

" It is perfectly true," I said, my enthusiasm waning. There is 
nothing more annoying to a woman than to be suspected of nerves 
of iron. 

" Well, you certainly don't look it," said she, scrutinising me 


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with that direct English frankness that makes one feel as though 
sitting in the glare of a window at breakfast-time. 

" What are you here for," I said, smiling graciously to soften 
the glare. At that she turned and looked across the lawns, and 
fidgetted with her umbrella like a provincial actress about to 
make a confession. " I "—in a quiet affected voice — " I came here 
to forget. , . . But," facing me again, and smiling energetically, 
" don't let's talk about that. Not yet. I can't explain. Not until 
I know you all over again." Very solemnly — <( not until I am sure 
you are to be trusted." 

" Oh, don't trust me, Violet," I cried. " I'm not to be trusted. 
I wouldn't if I were you." She frowned and stared. 

" What a terrible thing to say. You can't be in earnest." 

" Yes, I am. There's nothing I adore talking about so much as 
another person's secret. " To my surprise, she came to my side 
and put her arm through mine. 

" Thank you," she said, gratefully. u I think it's awfully good 
of you to take me into your confidence like that. Awfully. And 
even if it were true . . . but no, it can't be true, otherwise you 
wouldn't have told me. I mean it can't be psychologically true of 
the same nature to be frank and dishonourable at the same time. 
Can it ? But then ... I don't know. I suppose it is possible. 
Don't you find that the Russian novelists have made an upheaval 
of all your conclusions ? " We walked, bras dessus bras dessons, 
down the sunny path. 

" Let's sit down," said Violet. " There's a fountain quite near 
this bench. I often come here. You can hear it all the time." The 
faint noise of the water sounded like a half-forgotten tune, half sly, 
half laughing. 

*' Isn't it wonderful," breathed Violet. " Like weeping in the 

" Oh Violet," said I, terrified at this turn. " Wonderful things 
don't weep in the night. They sleep like tops and ' know nothing 
more till again it is day.' " 

1 06 

Epilogue : II. 

She put her arm over the back of the bench and crossed her legs. 

" Why do you persist in denying your emotions ? Why are you 
ashamed of them ? " she demanded, 

"I'm not. But I keep them tucked away, and only produce them 
very occasionally, like special little pots of jam, when the people 
whom I love come to tea." 

" There you are again ! Emotions and jam ! Now, I'm 
absolutely different. I live on mine. Sometimes I wish I didn't — 
but then again I would rather suffer through them — suffer in- 
tensely, I mean ; go down into the depths with them, for the sake 
of that wonderful upward swing on to the pinnacles of happiness." 
She edged nearer to me. 

" I wish I could think where I get my nature from," she said. 
" Father and Mother are absolutely different. I mean— they're 
quite normal — quite commonplace." I shook my head and raised 
my eyebrows. " But it is no use fighting it. It has beaten me. 
Absolutely — once and for all." A pause, inadequately filled by 
the sly, laughing water. " Now," said Violet, impressively, " you 
know what I meant when I said I came here to forget." 

" But I assure you I don't, Violet. How can you expect me to 
be so subtle ? I quite understand that you don't wish to tell me 
until you know me better. Quite ! 

She opened her eyes and her mouth. 

" I have told you ! I mean — not straight out. Not in so many 
words. But then — how could I ? But when I told you of my 
emotional nature, and that I had been in the depths and swept 
up to the pinnacles . . . surely, surely you realised that I was 
telling you, symbolically. What else can you have thought ? " 

No young girl ever performs such gymnastic feats by herself. 
Yet in my experience I had always imagined that the depths 
followed the pinnacles. I ventured to suggest so. 

" They do," said Violet gloomily. " You see them, if you look, 
before and after." 

M Like the people in Shelley's skylark," said I. 


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Violet looked vague, and I repented. But I did not know how 
to sympathise, and I had no idea of the relative sizes. 

" It was in the summer," said Violet. " I had been most fright- 
fully depressed. I don't know what it was. For one thing I felt as 
though I could not make up my mind to anything. I felt so terribly 
useless — that I had no place in the scheme of things — and worst 
of all, nobody who understood me. ... It may have been what 
I was reading at the time . . . but I don't think . . . not entirely. 
5 till one never knows. Does one ? And then I met . . . Mr. Farr, 
at a dance——" 

" Oh, call him by his Christian name, Violet. You can't go on 
telling me about Mr. Farr and you ... on the heights." 

" Why on earth not ? Very well — I met — Arthur. I think I 
must have been mad that evening. For one thing there had been a 
bother about going. Mother didn't want me to, because she said 
there wouldn't be anybody to see me home. And I was frightfully 
keen. I must have had a presentiment, I think. Do you believe in 
presentiments. ... I don't know, we can't be certain, can we ? 
Anyhow, I went. And he was there." She turned a deep scarlet 
and bit her lip. Oh, I really began to like Violet Burton — to like 
her very much indeed. 

" Go on," I said. 

" We danced together seven times and we talked the whole 
time. The music was very slow — we talked of everything. You 
Joiow . . . about books and theatres and all that sort of thing at 
first, and then — about our souls." 

" . . . . What ? " 

" I said— our souls. He understood me absolutely. And after 
the seventh dance . . . No, I must tell you the first thing he 
ever said to me. He said, ' Do you believe in Pan ? ' Quite quietly. 
Just like that. And then he said, " I knew you did." Wasn't that 
extra-or-dhvary ! After the seventh dance we sat out on the 
landing. And . , . shall I go on ? " 

"Yes, go on." 

Epilogue : II. 

" He said, ' I think I must be mad. I want to kiss you — and — 
I let him." 

" Do go on." 

w I simply can't tell you what I felt like. Fancy ! I'd never 
kissed out of the family before. I mean — of course — never a man. 
And then he said : ' I must tell you — I am engaged.' " 

" Well ? " 

" What else is there ? Of course I simply rushed upstairs and 
tumbled everything over in the dressing-room and found my coat 
and went home. And next morning I made Mother let me come 
here. I thought," said Violet, " I thought I would have died of 

" Is that all ? " I cried. " You can't mean to say that's all ? " 

" What else could there be ? What on earth did you expect. 
How extraordinary you are — staring at me like that." 

And in the long pause I heard again the little fountain, half 
sly, half laughing — at me, I thought, not at Violet. 




Caps, Bells and Legs 

IT is extraordinary how scattered are the impressions to be 
got in the theatres of London — a good piece of acting here, 
a colour there, a witticism or two in another place, a tune 
in another. When you disentangle them you will find always 
that each moment of pleasure came by accident and existed 
entirely apart from the general intention. There is a comedy 
at the Little Theatre by a new and rather skilful writer, a Mr. 
Vansittart, who dons the cap and bells and jingles them for a 
couple of hours, during which and to their accompaniment, a 
comic drama ought to have started, reached its climax, and come 
to a close. But, though there was a company of very competent 
actors on the stage, nothing was heard but the accompaniment, 
so that I was constantly reminded of an undergraduate neighbour 
I once had who evolved an unvarying accompaniment of C, E 
and G in waltz time for every tune that happened to stick in his 
unmusical memory. Impossible when he played, to distinguish 
anything but his thudding accompaniment, . , It may be said 
that, as a critic, I have no business when witnessing a play to go 
back over the years to undergraduate memories. In the theatre, 
drama can hold my attention (and, I believe, everybody else's) 
and I can think of nothing else when it is presented on the stage. 
When it is absent, my faculties are not engaged, and any wandering 
idea can creep into my head. (That this happens to other critics 
is shown by the comptes rendus in the newspapers.) That Mr. 
Vansittart's cap and bells played the old C, E and G refrain is 
regrettable, but, having tested my power to respond to drama with 
Hamlet at Drury Lane, I refuse to believe that the fault was more 
mine than the author's. I wish him well, and pass on to record 
other disappointments. 

The new American Revue at the London Opera House has a 
good illustrated-paper kind of poster of a Merveilleuse lady, which 


A Composition 

G. S. Lightfoot 



Frances Jennings 


The Theatre 

has only had an effect on me in one place. There is a certain wall 
in a main thoroughfare which proved too small for its length. 
The bill-sticker, concerned only to fulfil his functions, and caring 
nothing for anatomy, has folded up the bottom third of the picture, 
so that the lady's leg, attractively revealed by an aperture in her 
gown, grows out of her waist. This fascinated me, and when I 
saw the Revue I found that this poster gives a truer idea of the 
performance than its more fortunate duplicates do. At the London 
Opera House the ladies' legs do grow out of their waists, or, at 
least, such is my impression. They have a great many legs, but 
every attempt I made to count them was baffled, for they were 
for ever on the run, running out of nothing into nothing, aimlessly, 
without purpose, without humour, without zest. There was one 
period when I thought I should achieve my reckoning, but suddenly 
sixteen legs disappeared into a pool of water and I had to begin 
again, and before that I had been put out by the entertainment 
taking a sudden plunge into Max Reinhardt's Arabian Nights, 
so that I was forced into a curious contemplation of two pairs of 
male legs. Till then I had decided that the purpose of the enter- 
tainment was to display a large selection of female legs, but vVhen 
I was presented with these four — two white and two stained brown 
— my ideas were upset and I was set wondering why four male 
legs should be enough for the female public of London while 
for the male public an unascertainable number should be necessary. 
This problem is still unsolved, though it remains interesting. 
There was no effective humour in the display, very little musical 
ability, no romance, no intelligence, hardly any of the qualities 
with which in musical comedy and English revues the appeal of 
legs is salted. Here, bluntly (and most expensively) was the stage 
used to satisfy that element in human nature upon which Mahom- 
med founded a vision of Paradise. Less efficient than the One 
Prophet, the Americans responsible for this " colossal success " 
have bungled their use of their material and give the impression 
that female legs grow out of the female waist. Perhaps my friend 


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the bill-sticker had seen the show and had been horrified into an 
access of honesty, for certainly his is the only poster that gives a 
correct idea of the new Revue, and it remains its aptest criticism. 

A wicked spirit of irreverence almost drives me to wish that 
there were a few pairs of legs in Strife. Respect for the play and 
its author however win the day. The back-cloth of the speech 
scene in Strife is a picture of Welsh hills. These and the action 
that takes place among them call back to the mind that there are 
winds in the world, winds and foul weather and a hard living to be 
gained, harsh facts from which our townish huddling away leads 
us to take a dull delight in caps and bells and legs. To read the 
word Strife and the name John Galsworthy in the list of plays 
is to be braced to new hope. To attend the play is to have the 
comforting assurance that here at least is one man in the theatre 
who will not fawn upon his audience, or leer at it, or mewl at it, 
or strut before it, but one who to the best of his ability will in 
terms of the theatre set before his audience the facts that have 
stirred his emotion and by his art lead them into sharing his 
feeling, his desire, his warm perception of the forces that play 
about and through human action. He is an upright man that will 
not indulge in showman's tricks, nor mental tricks, nor make any 
appeal save through his art and the legitimate use of the machinery 
at his disposal. It is rather his sense of law and order than his 
sense of justice that will not let him allow his conflicting forces 
actually come to grips, and makes him state rather than reveal, 
deal with types rather than characters. That must be granted him. 
It is in his attitude, in his essence. What is so valuable is that within 
its scope his art is admirably disciplined, economical and effective. 
His is a stern wistfulness that is the most telling antidote to caps, 
bells and legs. These also are good things, admirable in their place, 
but, if they are not used in terms of the theatre they are as distaste- 
ful as any other raw material, as distasteful as Mr. Galsworthy's 
emotions would be, if he were ever slovenly enough to dump them 
down on the stage, without moulding them into form. Really the 


Theatres in the Air 

whole problem is resolved into a question of the right use and 
the wrong use of the theatre. Caps, bells and legs are every bit 
as good as wistful emotions if they are rightly used. The perform- 
ance of Strife at the Comedy reveals an efficiency which is not to 
be found at any other theatre, except, perhaps, on a lower level, 
the Royalty. What a fortune that man will make who discovers 
the right use of legs in the theatre ! Stravinsky and Fokin are 
very near it. 


MR. GORDON CRAIG (" Towards a New Theatre," Dent, 
2 is. net) has produced a beautiful book, and in that he justifies 
himself. If we complain that it fails in its primary intention we 
are ungracious, for the gift of a beautiful book can in no case be 
just cause for complaint, no matter how capricious its service 
may be. The imaginative reader of great dramatic literature is 
accustomed to create ideal performances in his mind, a visionary 
conduct of movement and conflict that is unimpeded by the 
thousand embarrassing circumstances of the theatre— mechanical 
difficulties and mishaps, the personality of the actor, the enormous 
problem of investing the complicated and delicate piece of 
machinery which is comprehensively called the stage with the 
freedom and elasticity of art. And he will, too, often set this ideal 
performance against an ideal background without consideration 
of time and space — of the theatre's w T alls. This background Mr. 
Craig does much to realise for us — on paper. These designs, with 
their admirable economy of detail and their stirring suggestion of 
height and distance cannot but leave our imagination the richer 
and more apt for the creation of those performances that outrun 
all the possibilities of theatrical device. Mr. Craig has dreamt well, 
and for this we are grateful. It may be said here that his new book 
is not greatly concerned with the opposition to words as the primary 


The Blue Review 

medium of drama that found an advocate in the author's " Art 
of the Theatre," and there is no present necessity to dispute 
Mr. Craig's denial of poetry on the stage. Many of these designs 
are made for accepted masterpieces of poetic drama, and whatever 
the designer's quarrel with the spoken word may be in general, 
it is not laboured here. Nor are we disposed to pay very much 
attention to the text of this present volume ; Mr. Craig is not a 
good writer either in style or temperament. His prose is constantly 
apeing the ease of the conversational stylists, and always failing to 
catch their secret ; it is rather like Mr. Newman or Mr. Montague 
on stilts, the fine lissomness of gait that is natural to them 
turning to awkward condescension, as who should walk a little 
way with Tom and Dick, poor fellows. There is, moreover, 
scarcely anything in these notes that was very much worth saying 
— rather an irritating wagging of the head with an " I could an 
if I would.*' So that dismissing the book as telling us but little of 
Mr. Craig's views of the whole art of the theatre and finding 
annoyance rather than pleasure in his writing, we are left with 
the bare designs themselves, which are indeed the sole— and 
ample— -justification of the volume. We wish that they had been 
published in a folio without any trappings, but since their maker 
decided against this we are not disposed to quarrel unduly with 
what we take to be an indiscretion. These designs are full of 
imaginative beauty, and no one can look at them without realising 
that Mr. Craig is one of the most gifted men of his time. He has, 
as we have said, dreamt finely and cleanly ; the imagination is 
never dissipated into mere fancy. But Mr. Craig calls his book 
** Towards a New Theatre," and it is at this point that the real 
trouble in his work begins. 

A great play does not necessarily need the stage to prove its 
greatness, but it is certain that the dramatist can only achieve 
high mastery of construction by knowledge of, and in terms of, the 
theatre. It is questionable whether, apart from this gain, the artist 
can secure any profound and lasting pleasure from work in the 


Theatres in the Air 

theatre, but, however this may be, every artist who has any 
experience of such work knows that whatever the theatre may or 
may not be, it cannot possibly be a place of dreams. Life in a theatre 
is a life of continual conflict with immediate and practical difficul- 
ties on the stage, a daily compromise of ideals with necessity, of 
dreams with stubborn physical facts. The supreme virtue of the 
theatre is that it is the one instrument by which it is possible to 
make great art popular, and it is an understanding of this condition 
that is drawing so much of our best work to-day into its service. 
But the theatre is definitely a place in which to do and not to 
dream. Mr. Craig gives us a design for the last scene of the first 
act of Hamlet. It is extraordinarily impressive and really quickens 
our perception of the poet's mood. At the back of the stage is the 
figure of a man ; behind him rises a great square-cut block of 
building ; measuring this from our figure we find it to be sixty 
feet high, and the sky goes up above it. We do not see the full 
breadth of the scene, but measuring that part which is visible by 
the same standard we find it to be seventy-five feet — ninety feet 
if we allow a small margin on either side. It is, as we say, un- 
deniably impressive, but will Mr, Craig put it on a stage for us ? 
We have another design : a dark flight of steps— thirty- five steps 
as nearly as we can count them ; a foreground of perhaps ten feet. 
On the steps is the figure of a woman, an isolated point of light 
in the surrounding darkness. Mr. Craig sees much emotional value 
in the design, and so do we ; will he put it on a stage for us ? 
It does not help us to tell us that he is working towards a new 
theatre and not the new theatre. The fact is that there is not the 
remotest possibility of a theatre in which these designs could be 
translated into terms of the actual stage. You cannot have sixty- 
feet high buildings with the sky over them on the stage, and if you 
could you would have a stage that would be useless for everything 
but pantomime. And you cannot light a single figure without 
lighting a surrounding space. At least, you cannot do these things 
in the theatre that is already beginning to announce again that it 

ir 5 

The Blue Review 

will have its own passionate and vigorous life, whatever might be 
done in the theatre towards which Mr. Craig tells us he is pointing, 
saying gaily that it is also a mountain. Of course many things might 
be done in or on a mountain, but that is another matter. The young 
theatre to-day is in fierce opposition to a misconceived and wholly 
unpoetic principle of stage decoration. Mr. Craig, more perhaps 
than any man living, might lead and inspirit it in a struggle that 
means a good many bruises ; or he may quite justly absent himself 
from the theatre altogether and continue to achieve admirable 
designs which will feed the imagination but not the stage. If he is 
to do us the former service he must show us how to work in cloth 
and wood and limes and electric bulbs, remembering that the 
people who are willing to have their imaginations stirred and to 
pay for the adventure will not fill a mountain ; that the theatre, 
in other words, insists before everything else that the artist shall 
oppose himself to practical difficulties at every turn and that he 
prove every dream upon the stage as he goes along. It is not sur- 
prising that many artists, realising these severities of the theatre, 
refuse to bow to a discipline so stern. If Mr. Craig confessed him- 
self to be of these, nobody could blame him, and his art would 
lose nothing. But it is useless to tell us that he is pointing the 
way to achievements in the theatre which even he himself, by his 
own witness, can yet do little more than see dimly in rapt ecstasy, 
and at the same time ignore the perplexing but inflexible conditions 
that the theatre imposes on its servants. 



" Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure." 

IT is hard to keep clear of the critical King Cambyses' vein when 
one has to write about Rabindra Nath Tagore's " Gitanjali " 
(Macmillan 4s. 6d. net.). " Thou hast made me endless . , ./' 
Yes, that is the danger. It is, I suppose, one of the paradoxes of 
aesthetics, that poetry, when it achieves a perfect formality — 
when form and impulse are inevitably related — has the power 
of causing a notable sense of complete liberation from all the 
formality of consciousness : " Thou hast made me endless." 
Life can get nothing better than these moments ; they belong to 
Dionysus. But they are " unexpressive." The making of great 
poetry is a transformation of Dionysus into Apollo ; but the 
reading of great poetry is a transformation of Apollo back into 
Dionysus. And Dionysus untransformed is still less the god of 
criticism than he is of poetry. He is, however, the god of King 
Cambyses' vein, which, as a good European, I am bound to detest 
above everything. As a precaution against him— to give him time 
for settling down into the everyday formality of thought — I shall 
speculate a little about the significance of " Gitanjali " outside of 
art. For Tagore's work belongs to world-politics as well as to 
poetry. As I read his own exquisite prose translation of his songs^ 
I seem to have jumped right over that formidable clash which is, 
or ought to be, at the back of everybody's mind— the coming clash 
of East and West ; I seem to have landed magically in its serene 
and triumphant conclusion. All the great original civilisations of 
the world (including the one on whose bequests we are still living) 
have resulted from the East fusing somehow with the West. 
And always it has been the East that supplied impulse — Dionysus, 
the West that supplied form— Apollo ; for the resulting triumph 
of vitality, each was as necessary as the other. Now this seems to 
me exactly what has happened afresh in " Gitanjali." The book 
is not only noble poetry ; it is a new civilisation. This is why it 
is so incomprehensibly surprising. When one is talking of poetry, 
Dionysus and Apollo will always come in very conveniently as 


The|Blue Review 

figures of speech ; that is how I was using them just now. But in 
* l Gitanjali " they have become gods once more. A profound im- 
pulse from the East and a masterful formality from the West have 
joined together to create a new perfection of conscious life. 

This, at any rate, is how I read the book. And there seems no 
doubt that it actually is a joint product of East and West. Rabindra 
Nath Tagore 's family has long been conspicuous for its efforts to 
Europeanise India, or Indianise Europe, whichever you prefer. 
His father took a great part in establishing the Brahma Samaj, 
an eclectic theistic religion which appears to have deliberately 
attempted to compound the formal thought of the West with 
Indian spiritual intuition, I believe it has had an immense influence. 
But the real result of the Brahma Samaj is in the songs of Rabindra 
Nath Tagore, which have penetrated the whole of Indian life. 
I may be hunting a chimaera ; but really this seems to me extra- 
ordinarily significant. Compare these songs with almost any other 
Eastern poetry, and you will see what I mean. Eastern poetry, 
however, means for most of us, I suppose, Fitzgerald's Omar ; 
and the comparison here will not be so striking. For Fitzgerald 
** tampered/' as they say, with his original : in fact, he turned it 
into a European poem. Read a literal translation of Omar, and 
you will see that Fitzgerald gave to his original just that which 
is so noticeably supreme in " Gitanjali " : he gave it form. But 
Hafiz will show how Tagore differs from typical Oriental lyrics. 
No one can miss the puissance of impulse in Hafiz ; but I imagine 
that most Europeans would agree that it is impossible to read 
Hafiz with any comfort, not even in a reading that so admirably 
suggests the external form as Walter Leaf's translation. What 
disturbs us is the complete lack of internal form agreeing with the 
external. Orientalists, of course, admit this ; they say Persian 
poetry (and it is evidently true of Eastern poetry in general) gets 
its unity and only professes to get it, from an extraordinarily strict 
externality of form : the spirit within the poetry is " free." That 
is merely to say, the spirit is shapeless ; and as long as Greece 



lives in Europe, we are not likely to be satisfied with shapeless 
spirit, however shapely the substance may be. A more familiar 
instance, doubtless, would be the Canticles ; and their purport 
is very close to that of " Gitanjali." The inspiration of the Canticles 
is as sublime as anything in poetry ; but it is utterly shapeless. 
It is ungoverned ; Dionysus has not contrived to turn into Apollo. 

And that is just what he has contrived to do in " Gitanjali.'* 
I certainly should not compare the inspiration of this book with 
the depth and splendour of the inspiration of Hafiz or the Canticles . 
It does not seem, like theirs, a rage from the very heart of life. 
It is finer, more delicate, more wistful, decidedly less profound. 
But all the same, compared with modern European poetry, it 
amazingly seems to have behind it the pressure of vast reservoirs 
of vitality. No doubt this comes from the immense force of Indian 
religion. The thing is, however, that this elemental kind of in- 
spiration has been mastered into complete formality as shapely and 
exquisite as anything in the whole range of European lyric ; and, 
I think, considering the facts of the milieu in which " Gitanjali " 
originated, we may truly call this formality Western. But whether 
this be so or not, it makes Tagore's poetry of the same nature as 
the poetry of Sappho or Simonides, Wordsworth or Heine ; and 
— here is the amazing thing — this without ceasing to be altogether 
Oriental and Indian. The translation of " Gitanjali *' gives us, of 
course, no notion of the external form of these songs ; but it must 
certainly be something beautiful. Beauty of external form by no 
means compels the spirit within to be shapely : it may easily be 
" free," or shapeless. But *• soul is form and doth the body make " : 
when the soul is form— when thought and mood have such 
superb shapeliness as they have in " Gitanjali " — the body cannot 
refuse obedience to it. 

It is possible that the Brahma Samaj— and by that I mean the 
" contamination " of East and West — may be responsible for 
Tagore's noble mingling of mystical aspiration with a profound 
and delighted acceptance of life. But probably this is simply the 


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result of Tagore's genius ; for mysticism in Europe has always 
been just as inclined to deny life as mysticism in the East. In any 
case, the quality is one of the chief things in what Mr. Ransome 
would call the " kinetic " of the book — in what it sets out to say. 
But I shall not attempt the futility of describing what " Gitanjali " 
is like. In the bounty and glow and simplicity of its imagery, it is 
as if it discovers vitality itself. But it is more than a deep flux 
of vitality ; it is vitality daring to hold itself in a supreme conscious- 
ness. The forces of its inspiration have made themselves into 
lucid formality, like the forces that build crystals ; and therefore 
it is poetry that can as easily and as equally speak of strange and 
remote experiences of the spirit as of the divine lusts of the senses. 
Just because, I believe, it promises a new civilisation, but promises 
it in the old way, in another fusion of the spiritual energy of the 
East with the mental formality of the West— just because of this, 
it is poetry which once more achieves the condition towards 
which all poetry is for ever straining : it is a perfection of 
conscious life. 

Well, I hope I have avoided King Cambyses* vein ; I am not 
quite sure. But I shall have no difficulty in keeping clear of it for 
the rest of this article. Not that " Gitanjali," as an earnest of future 
wonders, need make us desperate about the present. We are not 
doing so badly ourselves ; after Tagore's Indian dream, we need 
not cry to dream again. Indeed, if we had several books like Mr. 
D. H, Lawrence's " Love-Poems " (Duckworth 4s. 6d. net), I 
should certainly have to say that we are doing astonishingly 
well. But, though Mr. Masefield's " Dauber " (Heinemann 3s. 6d. 
net) has appeared in book form, Mr. Lawrence's poems stand 
by themselves, among recent books, for justifiable daring. 
" Dauber " seems to me the least successful of Mr. Masefield's 
narratives ; chiefly because only a rattling good story could justify 
a poem of such length, and the story is a very poor affair ; it is 
false in psychology and false in sentiment. The hero's death ought 
to have been significant ; but I cannot help suspecting that Mr. 



Masefield, having turned his hero at last into a decent sort of chap, 
killed him because he did not know what to do with him. Even 
so, however, there are several pages of incomparable description, 
and continual lightning flashes of splendid phrasing. But I do not 
like having to praise Mr. Masefield only for the ornament of his 
poetry. I cannot find much to say either about Mr. Hewlett's 
" Helen Redeemed " (Macmillan 4s. 6d. net) or Mr. William 
Watson's " The Muse in Exile." Since Mr. Hewlett published 
4£ Artemision," his verse seems to have been trying hard to 
recapture the qualities which enabled that delightful book to do 
something considerable towards the poetic re-creation of Greek 
legend. One cannot but admire the determined Hellenism of this 
confirmed romantic. Only in one poem in this latest book of his— 
in " Gnatho " — can I find anything comparable with the keen 
phrasing and vivid conception of " Artemision." The rest is what 
you might expect from the industry of a romantic trying to be a 
Hellenist. Of Mr. Watson's " The Muse in Exile " (Jenkins 3s. 6d. 
net) I will not say anything at all ; I have too much respect for 
Mr. Watson's past. Miss Emilia Stuart Lo rimer's " Songs of 
Alban " (Constable 3s. 6d, net) is another book I must pass by. 
Her writing is evidently quite alive ; but I find it difficult to enjoy 
poetry which I cannot understand ; and there is very little of Miss 
Lorimer's which I can understand. 

So I am left with Mr. Lawrence's " Love Poems." There is 
novelty here ; but the right sort of novelty. It is poetry realising 
things afresh. If u realist " were not a word abominably misused, 
it would be the word for Mr. Lawrence's poems. I do not care 
very much for his rhythms ; their daring seems to be really a fear 
of being conventional, though sometimes, as when he uses mono- 
syllabic feet, they are obviously effective : 

" To ha'e gone an' given his white young flesh 
To a woman that coarse." 

And the love in his " Love Poems " is rather too monotonously 


The Blue Review 

the " bitter-sweet impracticable adder." But Mr. Lawrence has 
an admirable power of liberating the concealed meaning of words, 
and an equally admirable power of unexpected but truthful 
association. These lines give an instance of both these qualities : 

" a grey pale light like must 
That settled upon my face and hands till it seemed 
To flourish there, as pale mould blooms on a crust.'* 

The choice of the word (£ flourish ■* marks Mr. Lawrence as a poet ; 
and a sinister dawn is captured with curious assurance by the 
suggestion, physical as well as emotional, of mould. Such detail 
as this Mr. Lawrence uses for the patient, elaborate and extra- 
ordinarily economical fixation of a sequence of moods which, for 
all that they are somewhat monotonous, are so concentrated into 
poetry that they are quite irresistible. But, remarkable as these 
" love poems " are, Mr. Lawrence works with less effort, and to 
clearer result, in the sharp psychology and vigorously restrained 
word-play of the dialect poems at the end of his book. 




THE use of the imagination has been complicated for the 
modern novelist by the emphasis laid by the modern 
critic upon the importance of recorded observation. 
It was at one time demanded that Mr. Micawber and 
Becky Sharp should not only have sharply denned 
dwellings and properties of a very 7 recognisable kind, 
but that they should also, of themselves, be individual and memor- 
able characters . Now that background is of itself almost sufficient to 
claim approving attention, and the fact that one can remember 
the angles of the playground at one's board-school and the exact 
appearance of the counter at the shop where one was once an eager 
assistant is enough to catch the critics and readers by the throat. 

Mr. Wells and Mr. Arnold Bennett, who have, in their sharp 
retention of experience, enough material to last them until the 
end of their days, have nevertheless produced some of their most 
remarkable work by the fine energy of their imagination ; the 
deserted London in " The War of the Worlds " and the execution 
in " The Old Wives' Tale " are as powerful and as true as the 
experiences of Kipps or the aspirations of young Clayhanger. 

The lesser novelist of to-day, however, betrays at every step 
that his imagination is consciously fettered by the close proximity 
of his public. Unless he is of the first rank, and artist enough to 
give this same imagination precedence to this cherished public, 
one success will kill his spontaneity, strangle his honesty, weaken 
his individuality ; here in Mr. W. J. Locke's " Stella Maris " 
(John Lane, 6s.) is pertinent and distressing evidence of this. There 
are many who admired the books that Mr. Locke gave to the world 
before " Marcus Ordeyne " as work of the very finest promise and 
of considerable performance. " The Usurper," " Where Love Is," 
" The White Dove," these were individual, honest, admirable 
studies in character. Yvonne in " Derelicts " and the Lanyons in 
" The White Dove " are etchings of the most brilliant order. 
With " Marcus Ordeyne " came popular success and, since 


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then, so anxious has been Mr. Locke to give his public what they 
wish him to give them, that spontaneity of imagination has been 
utterly and recklessly abandoned. In " Stella Maris," the latest 
and surely the worst of his novels, we can behold this shackled 
imagination, struggling at first, ultimately defeated, imprisoned, 

The idea of someone, living away from the world, innocent, 
happy, ignorant, plunged then,, suddenly, into experience and 
beaten to the ground with the shock of it, is, if not absolutely 
new, packed with possibilities. I believe that, at the beginning, 
Mr. Locke saw these possibilities, but saw also that an honest 
development of them would have forbidden both that sentimental- 
ity and that crudity that his public now expect from him. His 
imagination protests. " Come," says Mr. Locke, " you've got to 
do what I tell vou — no more nonsense." We have then a beautiful 
girl with " a pair of frail arms, a daintily curved neck, a haunting 
face, and a mass of dark hair encircling it on the pillow like a 
nimbus," We have a strong rugged hero, a wonderful villainess, 
thin-lipped and always dressed in black, a charity child, surely 
related to Little Nell and Little Paul. The psychological interest 
of the effect upon Stella of the revelation of a wicked (here a 
purple) world is sunk beneath such sentences as " The cruel, vulgar 
and hideous things of life were not the appanages of a class apart. 
They entered into her own narrowed world. Her beautiful world 1 
Her hateful, horrible terror of a world ! " or <( Stella rose, and 
clasping hands to her bosom, went to him — 

" ' Belovedest, for Christ's sake, what is the end of all this ? ■ " 

The end of it all is, of course : 

" He put his arm around her, and all his love spoke. ■ You. 
The living mystery of beauty that is you.' He whispered into her 
lips. ' You—Stella Maris— Star of the Sea ! ' " 

There is no humour in this book. 

If Mr. Locke has chained his Imagination for fear of the things 
that it might do, Miss Mayer in " The Third Miss Symons " 


The Novels 

(Sidgwick, 3s. 6d. net) has discarded it altogether. Here I must 
frankly admit that Mr. Masefield's eulogistic preface aroused too 
eager an excitement. In this preface he says : '' The world is, of 
course, the comparatively passive feminine world, but few modern 
books (if any) have treated of that world so happily, with such 
complete acceptance, unbiassed and unprejudiced, yet with such 
selective tact and variety of gaiety." Remembering the work of 
Mrs. Wharton, Anne Douglas Sedgwick, Miss Sinclair, Miss 
Cholmondeley, Miss Ethel Sidgwick and others, all of whom have 
had for their stage this " comparatively passive feminine world," 
I was naturally determined to judge " The Third Miss Symons *" 
by high standards. To these standards Miss Mayer's little book 
does not begin to attain. Here is an accurate, well-written, grey, 
narration of a melancholy spinster's passage through the world. 
The observation is accurate, the atmosphere of heavy chandeliers, 
mid-day Sunday beef, and grey gloves worn at the finger-tips, 
most carefully maintained. Here is this material waiting for 
Imagination to come and start it into flame. Imagination never 
comes. The facts are there, the observation is accurate, and from 
it all nothing is to be gathered, nothing carries, in its spontaneous 
vitality, any relation to the other victories, the other tragedies 
that life can show. No, observation is not enough. 

Here, indeed, in another first novel, published in the same 
month, is Mr. Masefield's too eager statement immediately contra- 
dicted. Miss Ivy Low in " Growing Pains " (Heinemann, 6s.) has, 
for her study, this same " passive feminine world " and in it she 
does not entirely disregard the claims of Imagination, does 
produce something that has life and colour somewhere at its heart. 
It is in the earlier portion of her book that Miss Low is most 
successful. Her nervous, self-centred morbid little girl, flying 
from temper to affection, from bulls'-eyes (stolen out of a shop) to 
religion, is most admirably described, and Miss Low does use her 
imagination sufficiently to place this little girl in relation with all 
the other things in a restless and agitated world. In the book there 


The Blue Review 

is poetry, too, and a very admirable humour. Miss Low has not, 
as yet, learnt the lessons of construction and development, but 
hers is the best first novel that the present year has yet produced. 

Imagination, if it has not accompanied Miss Low quite far 
enough, has yielded to Miss Ethel Sidgwick almost too bountifully. 
In " Succession '* (Sidgwick and Jackson, 6s.), we are given the 
long-expected sequel to " Promise " and are faced at the book's 
close by the question as to why this world that Miss Sidgwick has 
herself seen so vividly and given to us so bountifully, a world full 
of pathos, humour, and excitement, is ultimately for us so difficult 
of comprehension. 

There is no doubt here of the fulness and vigour of Miss 
Sidgwick's imagination nor of the freedom and authority that she 
has given to it, so that she has simply followed and written as it 
has commanded her. But Miss Sidgwick's book is difficult to read 
because the author, in the desire to give her imagination its finest 
freedom, has refused, when the career is run and the adventure 
is concluded, any final and eliminating revision. There the plunder 
that her excursion has provided for her is lying ; from this plunder 
there should be selection, discipline, order. The story of the struggle 
of the soul of a genius against physical weakness is fine, the crowd 
of persons protecting, assaulting this genius, is admirably described 
and illuminated. Only from the great mass of dialogue, from the 
piling of minutiae upon minutiae, from the constant iteration of the 
Parisian and Munich background, enough does not finally reward 
the reader. The boy, his grandfather, his uncle, the composers, 
the other musicians, his philistine father, are there and are truth- 
fully there, but their capture has been difficult and even when 
the tale is ended, the mists are still about them. 

Mr. Beresford's " Goslings " (Heinemann, 6s.) on the other 
hand, is almost too rigorously pruned, and this only because the 
invention is so lively, the characters so admirably vital that every 
reader will wish that the book had been twice as long. Here, truly, 
is imagination rightly disciplined. 


The Novels 

Mr. Beresford, in his story of a plague that swept over Europe 
and left, for the most part, only women behind it, betrays all the 
philosophical acuteness and original invention that we should 
expect from the author of w The Hampdenshire Wonder " and 
also a colour and poetry that have been lacking in his earlier books. 

His picture of a deserted London will call to mind Mr. Wells' 
" War of the Worlds," but even here Mr, Beresford has much that 
is his own. That vast empty street with the mad " Queen of the 
Earth " shining with stolen jewels, shouting as she goes, for its 
only inhabitant, will not be easily forgotten by Mr. Beresford's 
readers. But it is in his second part that his imagination is most 
surely and emphatically original. His women— old Mrs. Gosling, the 
two girls, Eileen, Elsie Durham and the rest — are so sharply 
defined, and open up, in their relations to one another, so many 
novel and thrilling developments, that the history of their adven- 
tures is all too short. 

Poor Mrs. Gosling is most triumphantly distinguished against 
the bizarrerie and fantastic colour of the background. " No doubt 
our 'Eavenly Father will make excuses " is her wavering resort to 
some half- remembered security and, against the garlanded de- 
bauchery of the Butcher of High Wycombe and the invasions of Pan 
into a new relaxing civilisation, such security was badly needed, 

" Goslings " is the most vital book that Mr. Beresford has 
given us ; here then is Imagination, not, as with Mr, Locke, 
discarded, nor, as with Miss Sidgwick, undisciplined, but honestly 
developed and bravely restrained. 



Gretton's Modern History, A Small Boy, Steps to Parnassus, 
Lore of Proserpine, Dreams. 

NO particular descriptive term has in general been for 
years so commonly misunderstood as the word "de- 
tachment." Writers dealing with the kind of fictional 
art condemned as " realism " have always supposed 
that " realism " meant something laboriously objective, 
whereas " realism " (for which I am told writers to the 
Westminster Gazette have been trying to find a more apologetic 
name) is not necessarily either laborious or objective, once it is 
properly mastered by the realist and his critics. English realism 
does not set up a convention of not knowing anything about 
subjective states : it is, on the contrary, primarily concerned with 
a revolt against material things, by the extraordinarily simple 
means of showing how they very evilly dominate the lives of the 
majority of men. And it is ironic, and genuinely detached. Now 
the reason it so clearly indicates its true succession to the older 
school of English writers is that the detachment of English realism 
is — not objectivity, but a very quiet, typically English, humorous 
judgment. English realism, then, is intellectual to the extent that 
it is based upon lucid judgment ; but its detachment is nothing 
more nor less than the peculiar focussing power of this critical 
humour, which makes it unheroical and, I hope, unsentimental, 
but never insensitive. And it is not restricted to fiction, because 
realism is an attitude of mind, and not simply a technical method. 
Mr. Gretton, in his " Modern History of the English People, 
1880-1910 " (Grant Richards, 2 vols., js. 6d. net each), of which 
the second volume is now published, is witty rather than ironic, 
because he is a serious and responsible annalist ; but his detach- 
ment is entirely admirable. His book is not so much a history as a 
gloss upon events, and it is sometimes a little difficult in the absence 
of consecutive narrative to emulate Mr. Gretton's alertness in 
springing from subject to subject. But, apart from that fact, and 
the further fact that the extreme conciseness of the book demands 


General Literature 

the assumption by Mr. Gretton of the reader's familiarity with 
such things as the financial world and its vocabulary, the " follow- 
on " rule, and the qualities of Harris tweed, the two volumes have 
a clearness as well as a critical value and a humour of the highest 
significance. The writing is wonderfully brief and efficient, avoid- 
ing both baldness and overloading : the difficulty of compression 
and selection has been overcome with immense gusto. The omission 
of references to the Kinema has been noted elsewhere : I may 
perhaps mention two other very slight points. " De Rougemont," 
I believe, was not a real name ; and the Daily Mirror was not 
really started as a halfpenny photographic daily. It was intended 
as a penny newspaper for " ladies," and adopted its present form 
after a short run on its first lines. 

Very different from Mr. Gretton's work, and from each other, 
are the two books recently promulgated by distinguished novelists, 
though both deal autobiographically with the early years of life. 
Mr. Henry James, beginning with the idea that the public would 
like to have early recollections of his brother, William James, has 
been able to re-create with characteristic detachment the world 
in which they both moved as boys. Not many of these pages deal 
actually with W. J., but they are nevertheless a perfect delight, as 
wonderful as pages from Mr. James's most wonderful novels, 
and throwing off the same fascinating air of the understanding of 
a unique order of life. It is a delight, especially, to catch in delicious 
long miraculously-sustained and completed sentences, the very 
real history of Mr. James's progress to comprehension of his own 
" subtle " perception of things, which he styles a virtue and then, 
against himself, admits a vice. How, from the time when an aunt 
forbade her little girl to " make a scene," his mind began to see 
everything in scenes and situations, to the time when he realised 
that •* everything should represent something more than what 
immediately and all too blankly met the eye," his progress to the 
possession of the true power of observation and retention is here 
disclosed. As the picture of a novelist in his earliest stages, " A 


The Blue Review 

Small Boy, and Others ■'* (Macmillan, 12s. net) is fascinating to the 
lover of that novelist. As a beautiful picture in its own right, which 
" glimmers at me as out of a thin golden haze, with all the charm, 
for imagination and memory, of pressing pursuit rewarded, of 
distinctness in the dimness, of the flush of life in the grey, of the 
wonder of consciousness in everything "—so impossible it is 
better to express the impression of the book than in Mr. James's 
own words — it is a supreme and delightful work of art, based upon 
truth humorously observed, in the best English tradition. Mr. 
James's detachment is nowhere illustrated more surely ; the 
inexpressible candour of his primary perceptions, made difficult 
for us only by the consummate analysis of their interplay, is here 
once again revealed. Making observation the corner-stone of his 
art, " pedestrian gaping having been in childhood," Mr. James 
says, " prevailingly my line," embalmed, as it were, " in a sort of 
fatalism of patience," he presently seems to define art as " dignity 
and memory and measure," H conscience and proportion and taste, 
not to mention strong sense too." And if that is the definition of 
art, then surely Mr. James establishes his right for ever to be re- 
garded as one of the most " artistic " artists who have ever lived. 
Whatever may be his ultimate position among novelists, his in- 
fluence upon novelists of the present day is probably greater than 
that of any other writer of any time. It is impossible, that is to say, 
not to learn from Mr. James — sometimes the peculiarity of his later 
style, but inevitably something of the vital sense of truth that 
pervades his books, however his later conventions may have 
strayed from the clarity of " Roderick Hudson " and the exquisite 
" Portrait of a Lady," Mr. James, like all other realists, has never 
shrunk from the full exercise of his most fastidious perceptions. 
For that virtue alone he deserves canonisation: hehas never preached; 
but has always found the complexities and simplicities of life his 
absorbing study. And if we would judge the almost ingenuous 
manner of his sensitive approach to impressions, we are bound to 
read " A Small Boy " with gratitude and affectionate delight. 


General Literature 

Mr. J. C. Squire (" Steps to Parnassus," Latimer, 3s. 6d. net) 
does not shrink from his perceptions ; but a parodist such as Mr. 
Squire deserves something to parody. To ridicule the mediocre 
is one of the most useless occupations in life ; and it is almost 
intolerable to see a man of Mr. Squire's quite especial talent doing 
wilfully what his victims fumblingly do in all good faith. So these 
" Steps to Parnassus " are more by way of being cruelly humorous 
imitations than parodies : in the case of Mr. Masefield, apart 
from the sublime lapse into poetry, after Mr. Masefield 's own 
manner, the fun is too boisterous and unlike to be amusing. 
Elsewhere it is not really very edifying to have one's contempt for 
the jejune roused by Mr. Squire's malicious pleasure in emulation. 

Different indeed from any of the other books notable this month 
is " Lore of Proserpine " (Macmillan, 5s. net), for it is by no means 
humorous, or even very entertaining. " You will gather," says 
Mr. Maurice Hewlett, " that I was a reader." Either that, or the 
cult of fairies is but a sad one, for this jaded, unhappy, sterile 
book is otherwise inexplicable. No grace is here, no tender delicate 
participation in what we might assume to be the exquisiteness of 
the fairy realm. Instead, we find fairies very prosaic little persons, 
clad invariably in a single respectable garment (which, however, 
seems not quite to suffice in cold weather to keep the owner warm); 
and Mr. Hewlett is not at all moved to any lightness of touch. 
After twice conducting us through the books which he (in common 
with nearly every other boy) read in early years, he tells us about 
the solemn little fairies he has seen, and repeats two long stories 
— one of a fairy visitant and babe-stealer, the other of a fairy wife — 
in which his own experience is not concerned. But in all these 
stories, even in that of the Oreads in Wiltshire, there is a common- 
placeness of imagining, no less than a hardness of relation, which 
is really astonishing. It is as though Mr, Hewlett had determined to 
put aside all his various mantles — such as those which yielded the 
beautiful " Earthwork out of Tuscany," the incomparably rich 
M Forest Lovers," the harsher novels of actual history, and the 


The Blue Review 

more recent experiments in modern romance—and show to our 
unwilling gaze the secret reason why these splendidly costumed 
works, each swaggering in a richly embroidered cloak of brilliant 
phrases, never seemed, in all their dazzling wonder, to have truly 
operative hearts. He has essayed realism, the writing of things 
strongly seen and felt in a style of convincing simplicity ; and the 
effect is one of a book which is neither lively (as we might surely 
expect it to be) nor scientific. Mr. Hewlett would not have it 
scientific : nor would we. But if he is to adopt recognised poetic 
names, such as Queen Mab, and Oberon, and, presumably, the 
fairy " common herd " (as he seems to do), he should also, I should 
have supposed, make his accounts less laborious and more spirited, 
in the manner of the poets from whom he borrows his nomencla- 
ture. As it is, the fairies in " Lore of Proserpine " are simply 
unpleasing and substantial creatures such as we may see at any 
time in daylight without excitement, and if they are as dull as this, 
there seems no actual virtue in acquaintance with them. Moreover, 
the book has a horrible number of banalities, such as " Every one 
of us lives in a guarded house ; door shut, windows curtained " ; 
" We are bound — all of us— by our natures, bound by them and 
bounded " ; and, worst of all, " The Forsaken Merman is a beau- 
tiful poem, but not a safe guide to those who would relate the 
ways of the spirits of the sea." Surely the book is a subject for 
Mr. Squire ! 

Mr. Reginald Hine (" Dreams and the Way of Dreams," Dent, 
5$. net) has produced a very agreeable miscellany of dreams, and 
quotations from all sorts of authors, ancient and modern, and 
exceedingly apt and humorous remarks of his own. The dreams 
given are in some cases serious, and in others the strange chaotic 
medleys that cause so much laughter at the breakfast table ; but 
all are good. Mr. Hine writes from his own experience, and is so 
far scientific ; and he has a tremendous familiarity with what has 
been written upon the subject. He is a genuine believer in the value 
and the truth of dreams and dreaming ; but he is no bigot. That 


General Literature 

is to say, he is a humourist, and is therefore able to see himself 
and his enthusiasm with detachment, even while, none the less, 
believing firmly in what he has to say. Accordingly his book is 
one to be enjoyed on quite other grounds than the mere discussion 
of the author's case, which perhaps is less important than his very 
nice dreams. But Mr. Hine is a good writer as well as a good 
dreamer, and he has a mighty commonplace-book from which he 
culls pleasant quotations. 

Looking back over this chronicle, I hope I have not laboured 
the word " detachment " too hard. I have found the quality in all 
the books save one, and in that one I judge it to be absent because 
humour is absent from the author's essential make-up. Mr. Hew- 
lett's modern comedies are quite obviously based upon an 
artificial convention rather than a truly ironic conception of life. 
They make, indeed, hardly any pretence of representing life, and 
must be judged by their own convention. But when Mr. Hewlett 
brings his hobby into the open, and rides it with a prim solemnity, 
it is surely permissible to call his book a dull book ? And it is dull 
because he is too seriously intent upon it : he has the feeling of 
being a seer. M I take leave to flatter myself," he says, " that my 
own will be indispensable Prolegomena to any such work [a study 
of the Preternatural], or to any research tending to its com- 
pilation." That sentence offends me precisely because it reveals 
absorption untempered by either poetic enthusiasm or true de- 
tachment. One can't even be sure that it is true. 



A Classical Revival 

T|HERE are perhaps two reasons why the younger gene- 
ration of French writers is given to collective intro- 
spection and absorbed in speculation upon tendencies. 
The first is the economic fact that one of the easiest 
and least costly methods of procuring copy for a revue 
jeune is to conduct an enquite ; the second is that for 
better or worse the French logical mind is prone to develop a mania 
for literary classification and a disregard for the essential character- 
istics of the subject matter of the classification — literature. Con- 
sequently, it is very difficult to derive any real information 
from so extensive an inquiry as that of MM. Picard and Muller 
(" Les Tendances Presentes de la Litterature Francaise." Basset, 
3 fr. 50). Even if the classification into grandiose schools, Unani- 
mistes, Paroxystes and the like, is admitted by the writers them- 
selves, the labels tell us nothing, for they are concerned with the 
accidents rather than the essentials of literature ; much as though 
we decided to base our own literary criticism upon a division of 
modern Poets into those who eat bacon and eggs for breakfast 
and those who do not. Chaotic classification is a delusion and a 
snare. More satisfactory, because more restricted and definite, is 
the inquiry conducted by M. Emile Henriot in Le Temps (" A 
Quoi revent les Jeunes Gens ? " Champion. 2 fr.) ; yet even here, 
if we consider the replies as a whole, the result is negative. 
The young French writers of to-day have completely broken with 
Symbolism ; and if the contributors to M. Henriot's symposium 
are unanimous in affirming that there is no " new school," they 
are unanimous no less in denying the gods of the nineties. 

The desire for novelty at all costs is no longer characteristic 
of young French literature ; and the generation which expressed 
this desire in vers libre and sought its models in America, in 
Germany, m Flanders, in any country save France itself, is past. 
It is true that any evolution from the artistic position taken up by 
Mallarme was of itself doomed to sterility ; but other causes than 


French Books 

a mere aesthetic impossibility have been at work. It would be diffi- 
cult to overestimate the literary importance of the foundation of 
the political organisation, L 'Action Franpaise, with its royalist and 
Catholic programme and its watchword " France for the French." 
The immediate cause of the Action Franpaise was the Dreyfus 
trial, and though English opinion was practically unanimous in 
supporting Dreyfus and condemning anti-Semitism, there can be 
little doubt that on purely nationalist grounds the French agitation 
against Dreyfus was justified. A French nationalist policy, such 
as that adopted by the Action Franpaise demands that France 
should remain a Catholic country and that its government should 
not rest in the hands of naturalised Jews or other aliens. Although 
it may seem that the growing popularity of such a party has no 
immediate connection with the literary tendencies of modern 
France, the connecting link is supplied by two individuals, Maurice 
Barres and Charles Maurras . Catholic in their sympathies , 
nationalist in their politics, classical in their literary descent, 
Maurice Barres as the creative artist, Charles Maurras as the critic, 
enjoy an influence which becomes every day more widespread. 
From Charles Maurras descends the most powerful of the younger 
critical groups to-day, that of the Revue Critique, The political 
programme of the Action Franpaise is translated into literary 
terms. Alien influence must be excluded from French literature ; 
a return to the truest French tradition, to Racine, Pascal, La- 
fontaine, Stendhal, to Villon and to the Pleiade, must be exacted 
by the new criticism. We have only to compare Charles Maurras* 
latest book, " La Politique Religieuse " (Nouvelle Libraire Nation- 
ale, 3 fr. 50), in which the Catholic anti-alien policy is argued 
with the author's accustomed purity of style and language, with 
" Les Disciplines," by M. Henri Clonard (Riviere, 3 fr. 50), the 
chief critic of the Revue Critique, to see how close is the connection 
between the classical renaissance in politics and in literature. 
The authority of M. Maurras is quoted again and again in M. 
Clouard's book ; the very sub -title, " La Necessite litter aire et 


The Blue Review 

sociale d'une renaissance classique " reads like a phrase of the 
master's. The burden of the argument is pure Maurras. Roman- 
ticism must be forgotten, and the German prophets who preached 
it rejected for the true French tradition. " An imagination," 
says M. Clouard, " can very well be happy and brilliant, a point 
of view picturesque, a sentiment beautiful. But if you substitute 
them for analysis and experience where there are no other possible 
intermediaries between man and reality, you are mistaken and 
deceived on every hand." Analysis and experience — they are the 
old characteristics of French classicism and the ideals of the 
renaissance in France to-day. 

It is symptomatic that a recent number of the Revue Critique 
was entirely devoted to Stendhal, in whom the analytic genius 
of French literature reached perhaps its highest development ; 
while soon after Les Marches de Provence devoted a whole number 
to the consideration of fantaisie et jantaisistes. The Fantaisistes 
form a new school of French poets, with this striking difference 
from the generality of schools, that they have no programme or 
propaganda, no pseudo-philosophical theory of life on which to 
wreck their poetry. " Fantasy " in the sense in which the Fan- 
taisistes use it for their watchword is a quality of temperament 
and not an aesthetic dogma ; it is the faculty of analysing experience 
with an irony that verges on cynicism and an introspection that 
verges on egotism. In short, " fantasy " has always been an 
eminently French quality, in spite of the fact that its literary 
expression has been borne down for centuries by foreign influences, 
Spanish in the seventeenth century, English in the eighteenth, and 
German in the nineteenth. The terrible irony of Villon, the titanic 
imagination of Rabelais — these are the purely French products of 
fantasy. Jules Laforgue was a genius of the same mould. To this 
essentially French tradition many of the most significant of the 
younger generation attach themselves, P. J, Toulet, Tristan 
Dereme, Francis Carco, Jean-Marc Bernard, Jean Pellerin, to 
name the most significant ; and to this tradition belong three 


French Books 

slender books of poetry, " Le Poeme de la Pipe et de PEscargot," 
by Tristan Dereme, " Chansons Aigres-Douces," by Francis 
Carco (Collection des Cinq), " Sub Tegmine Fagi," by Jean- 
Marc Bernard (Editions du Temps Present, 3 fr. 50). The 
title of M. Carco 's book applies to all three ; they are all bitter- 
sweet. There is a delicate irony and a wonderful perfection 
of form in all, and underneath there seems to lurk a profound 
malaise. I am not here concerned to detach the individuality of 
these three poets ; but rather to emphasise their common quality. 
Here is poetry that is sure at least of its own ground, and sure of 
its essentially French spirit. It is poetry that does not thrust a 
theory of the universe into a lyric, nor disdain a perfection of form 
which is the birth-right of French poetry. Though as yet the 
Fantaisistes have no great body of work to their credit, they have 
at least this recommendation to our serious consideration, that 
they do not thunder before they have learned to speak, while 
they have jettisoned the preposterous cargo of " -ismes " under 
which young French poetry has laboured for twenty years. M. 
Dereme has the secret of a real Poetry when he writes : 

Ma vie en silence s'ecoule 
C'est pour peu d'hommcs que j'ecris 
Car si je chantais pour la foule 
Je pousserais bien d'autres cris. 

Des deux poings defiant les astres 
Je clamerais a grand fracas 
Et ferais crouler les pilastres 
Et les balustres sur mes pas 

* * * * 

Et peut-etre dans mon vieil age 
Pourrais-je voir sur mon perron 
Un laurier bercer son feuillage 
Mais a quoi bon ? mais a quoi bon ? 

The Blue Review 

There has lately been too much conscious " shaking fists at 
the stars " in French poetry, and the time has come for a classical 
revival after the anarchy and cosmopolitanism of recent years. A 
classical revival does not involve denying the last century and a half. 
Romanticism is in the French blood now as it is in ours. A classical 
revival means putting things in their place. In the pregnant phrase 
of M, J.-M. Bernard, Romanticism is but an element of literature ; 
classicism is a principle. 


IF it is true that the French Drama is at present in a state of 
decadence or, at least, of stagnation, it is none the less true that 
many French novels are now written that show not only remarkable 
cleverness and wonderful display of technique, but also a broader 
view of Life and a passionate interest in things of vital importance. 

During the last decade most French writers wrote books 
dealing only with love and adultere (or even adultere without love) 
and their consequences, pleasant or unpleasant; but it seems now as 
if a reaction had really begun. And it is a sign of the times that the 
present year has seen the birth of such books as U Ordination, Cauet, 
Vieille Histoire and La Colline inspiree. Moreover these are not ex- 
ceptional instances, for three of the works with which I am now con- 
cerned present the same characteristics : human interest, observation 
of real life and emotional appeal outside the relation of the sexes. 

Mme. Colette Willy's new book, UEnvers du Music-Hall 
(Flammarion, 3 fr. 50), for instance, shows us the monde of the 
lower French music-halls, from the hard-working, honest acrobat 
to the chorus-girl of the up-to-date Revue, monde of which we 
had already a glimpse in La Vagabonde. Only this time no psycho- 
logical plot and delicate sentimentalith are there to distract our 
attention from the sometimes depressing realities of that special 
kind of stage life. Colette Willy can see and she can describe, and 


Recent French Novels 

through the medium of her talent, we can see them too, those 
artists of the music-halls, " off " without their make-up, their 
graceful gestures and their fine clothes— as they really are. These 
sketches are sometimes very amusing, often very pathetic, and 
always admirably done. For Colette Willy has a sharp and fresh 
vision and that wonderful gift which is typical of great French 
writers, for describing a thing in a few decisive lines, for dis- 
covering the right and sometimes unexpected adjective, for 
pointing out the one essential and exceptional detail in a character 
— where lesser writers would write pages of dull, obvious and 
almost meaningless disquisitions. 

But UEnvers du Music-Hail does not only possess literary 
qualities : perfection of form and a sympathetic understanding of 
certain conditions of life contrive to make this book a most 
valuable contribution to the literature of the stage. 

It is also of theatrical life that M. Charles Henrv Hirsch writes 
in his last novel, and we also find in Saint-V oilier (Fasquelle, 3 fr. 
50) the same qualities of emotion and pity. Saint-V oilier is the 
lamentable story of a starving old actor who has probably never 
known better davs than those minutely described in these three 
hundred and fifty pages. He certainly never had talent, but illusions 
and self-confidence helped him to believe in his genius which, 
thought he, only bad luck and jealousy have prevented from 
astonishing Paris. He sees the world through the veil of dramatic 
literature and to him (until the very end of his miserable days) 
life is only a pretext for splendid theatrical effects ; yet that is 
because he is so much in earnest and so full of enthusiasm for his 
art and his would-be glory. 

It is in one of these small provincial towns in which Saint- 
Vallier once played small parts that is laid the scene of M. Henry 
Bordeaux's novel. La Maison (Plon-Nourrit, 3 fr. 50) belongs to 
that class of grey, rather dull and indifferently written books 
which, for some mysterious reason, always seem to reach twenty 
or thirty editions. Of course, it is clever, but oh ! so aggressively 

J 39 

The Blue Review 

catholic, patriotic (in the narrowest sense of the word) and bien 
pensant. Such people as the heroes of La Maison no doubt exist 
in large quantities, but their story is the rather uninteresting story 
of many French families, and the banalites of life are apt to become 
tedious unless treated by a Balzac, a Flaubert or an Anatole France. 
The characters of M. Henry Bordeaux's ambitious book ought to be 
satisfied with being readers — not heroes — -of novels. 

Les Noces Folks (Bernard Grasset, 3fr. 50) is a love story pure 
and simple, in which M. Eugene Montfort shows us first the 
wonderful love affair, then the conflict between an Italian woman 
and her Parisian husband. All that seemed in her divinely beautiful 
against a background of romantic Napolitan scenery soon becomes 
out of place in modern Paris. He falls in love with another woman 
only to discover later—too late — when after a similar incident his 
wife leaves him, that his love for her is as passionate as before. 

As for Paroles devant la Vie (E. Figuiere, 3ft. 50) it is a remark- 
able collection of strange comparisons, far-fetched adjectives, 
invented words, lyrical sentences and second-hand metaphysical 
ideas. I take it that M, Alexandre Mercereau is hailed as a genius 
by many of his friends. It seems to me that he is specially clever at 
discovering the obvious : he wonders at everything and everybody, 
Life, Death, Maternity, The Poet, Pantheism, Himself and His 
New Flat. Paroles, indeed, and not much else. His Paroles devant 
la nouvelle demeure afford a typical example of his talent (including 
a u sombre e'toffe londonienne " unknown to English decorators, 
which shows his mania for using at any cost an unexpected epithet). 
Miss Victoria Monks used to sing a song called (( Moving Day " 
which was, I think, much more to the point. 



Wolf-Ferrari, Hensche!, Fanelli 

NE of our habits in England is to produce foreign 
works with a flourish of trumpets a dozen years 
|or so after their first appearance abroad ; by 
[w T hich time their vitality is generally exhausted 
and their novelty gone. It was really hardly 
worth Mr. Fagge's while to disinter the " Vita 
Nuova " for the sake of saying "first performance in England." 
Wolf-Ferrari is not a great composer, and never will be : he 
tries to graft German methods on to an Italian temperament, and 
the result is confusion of style. The " Vita Nuova '' is really 
nothing more than a student work. Regarded as a setting of a 
poem that is as familiar to most Italians as the Lord's Prayer is to 
us, it naturally loses much of its effect when sung to a translation : 
and as it was done the other day all the intimacy of the original 
vanished. Chorus and orchestra ploughed through it in strict 
time without any of the rubato that the composer goes out of his 
way to demand in a note at the beginning of the score. The 
tendency of the music is naturally towards frequent accelerandos 
and crescendos ; he has accordingly contented himself with purely 
negative indications of diminuendo and ritenuto. Mr. Fagge's 
Procrustean beat however never once allowed the music to play 
itself, and the naive melodies and simple orchestration, which, 
treated gently, would have been quite effective, sounded simply 
stiff and affected. 

Another semi-new arrival was Dr. Henschel's Requiem. It 
was very well performed by the Handel Society. The soloists were 
admirable and the chorus and orchestra— mainly amateur— quite 
excellent. I mention the soloists first, because it is of them that 
Dr. Henschel seems to have thought most when he was writing it. 
The four solo parts melt into one another with delicious intricacy ; 
if anything is to be said against the work, perhaps the writing is a 
little too elaborate and consciously beautiful. The blending is not 
so noticeable in the chorus- writing ; the joins here are sometimes 


The Blue Review 

perceptible and there are gaps just in the places where continuity 
is most needed. There are besides far too many climaxes of sound : 
they average about one to a page. But there is a great deal of beauty 
everywhere, and sincerity too. Dr. Henschel writes strong and 
musical counterpoint ; he has a vivid sense of tonality and that 
power that Schubert had of momentarily disturbing harmonies 
without shifting the key-centre ; above all he has the gift of writing 
long tunes. He could not, of course, help being influenced by other 
writers of requiems, but he has kept his own individuality in spite 
of them. Mozart and Brahms can be traced in his mental attitude 
towards the text, and Wagner in his musical treatment of it ; but 
not one of them really obscures his personality in a single bar. 

The performance of Fanelli's " Tableaux Symphoniques " by 
the Colonne Orchestra of Paris was unsuccessful for much the same 
reason as the " Vita Nuova," except that Fanelli was much more 
in advance of his period (the eighties) than Wolf-Ferrari is or 
ever could be in advance of his. M. Pierne's discovery has come 
too late to do either us or Fanelli any good. There are a number 
of curious anticipations of modern colour in the three pieces, but 
they are too shapeless to be effective. There is undeniable atmo- 
sphere in them all, particularly in the third piece, the insistence of 
which becomes almost maddening after a time. Fanelli might have 
been a great genius if he could have heard his compositions played 
when he was younger : but years of privation and neglect have let 
his ideas run to seed and left his technique sprawling. 

Among the excitement of all these " discoveries " an unosten- 
tatious revival has been quietly going on elsewhere. The Carl 
Rosa Company have been performing Mozart's " Magic Flute " 
in English at the Coronet Theatre. It was a modest performance, 
but none the less interesting for that ; and is likely to do the cause 
of opera far more real good than sixty Covent Gardens. But I 
suppose the latter institution will go on thrusting Ricordi operas 
and rubbish like " Oberst Chabert " down our throats until the 
Day of Judgment. 



Mr. Max Beerbohm's Exhibition By EDWARD MARSH 

MR. BEERBOHM continues to keep us amused. His 
" Garland " was the principal boon and blessing of 
last Christmas ; and now people are four deep 
round his little roomful of caricatures, and to see 
them at all one must take one's place in a queue 
like a first-nighter at the mouth of the pit. 
No one in England, except Rossetti, has reached such mastery 
in the two arts of pen and pencil ; (and even this compliment 
must be strengthened if we are to believe Mr. Chesterton, who 
has just told us surprisingly that Rossetti was only successful in 
both because he was not very good at either). This is the more 
remarkable because his method of parody and his method of 
caricature are so distinct. His parodies are written from within. 
He seems to possess his victims like the imp of some severely 
logical nightmare, guiding them into strangely familiar surround- 
ings, in which they remain themselves, only more so. He gets 
into their skins like a refined Sally Beauchamp, and jerks them 
into odd characteristic attitudes. He is a hypnotist, who shows us 
his subjects politely and cheerfully drinking methylated spirit in 
the belief that it is ice-cream-soda. Roughly speaking, no " Max " 

disengages himself : we have only Messrs. ■■■- , — — , and ■ ■ ■ ■----, 

in their habits as we know them, but a little off the rails. In his 
caricatures, on the other hand, he is entirely the outside observer 
and critic. There is far more exaggeration and distortion ; and 
though there is equal subtlety, it is shown rather in choosing a 
point of departure than in keeping up a perfidiously faithful 
companionship. And everywhere we are conscious of Max — a 
grave, ironic, penetrating, Olympian sprite. 

The exaggeration and distortion are now less pronounced than 
they were in much of his earlier work. His figures might still be 
described in the words of Mr. Rupert Brooke : 

*■' Straggling, irregular, perplexed, embossed, 
Grotesquely twined, extravagantly lost 


The Blue Review 

By crescive paths and strange protuberant ways 
From sanity and from wholeness and from grace." 
But he seems to be gradually abandoning the almost purely 
" constructive designs " of which the " Lord Burnham " and the 
" Mr. Teixeira de Mattos " are the chief examples here. Perhaps 
he is leaving them to the Futurists ; but, for whatever reason, his 
personages are steadily becoming more human. This is of advantage 
to his work in one of its aspects. There can be no doubt that he 
will be among the chief sources for the intellectual and political 
history of our time. Perhaps, by the way, he is also one of its 
makers ; it is difficult to suppose that No. 16 will not be " another 
nail in the coffin of Tariff Reform," or that after seeing No. 3 
Mr. Arnold Bennett will not be shamed into finishing the Clay- 
hanger series. But be that as it may, it is to be hoped that when 
Mr. Beerbohm's work is completed, it will be made the foundation 
of an " Illustrated History of England " for his period, which then 
— thanks to his unfailing eye for the centre of a situation, and his 
gift for fixing it in a memorably comic form — will live with in- 
comparable vividness in the minds of a delighted posterity. 

From this point of view it is a misfortune that among so many 
brilliant successes he has a certain number of notable failures in 
likeness. Lord Curzon, for instance, Lord Milner, Mr. Anthony 
Hope, Mr. Albert Rothenstein, and Sir Edgar Speyer, are surely 
almost unrecognisable. A plea may be put in for the Prime 
Minister's nose ; Mr. Lloyd George seems to have got mixed up 
with Mr. Keir Hardie ; and, worst of all, Sir Edward Grey, in 
the embrace of the Russian bear, suggests rather Mr. Donald 
Tovey struggling to escape from the influence of Stravinsky. 

But what are these among so many ? and even if there were 
fewer successes with individuals to set against them, there would 
remain the types. Here are three groups which are miracles of 
various invention at work on the results of observation : the 
Colonels at the Cavalry Club, the Dons at Magdalen, and the 
Labour Members fascinated by Lord Alexander Thynne ; and 


The Galleries 

the group of great ladies listening to Mr. Percy Grainger, though 
less individualised, is an equally wonderful ensemble. Mr. 
Beerbohm's vision of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries is a more transcendental example of his fine historic sense. 

He has among his invaluable qualifications for this role of 
historian a sense of proportion and an instinct for greatness. He 
may be occasionally unkind to mediocrities ; but never in his 
wildest farce does he fail to pay some tribute, however mixed, to 
a big quality in a man. Take the sublime absurdity of his Mr. 
Balfour, clasping the " curves of his gradual violin " while he 
elegantly applauds Mr. Bonar Law dinning on the big drum. 
Take the tortuous, warped power of his " Lord Hugh Cecil." 
Take the li Gabriele d'Annunzio," with the fire of genius and 
poetry smouldering through the sensual vulgarity of the rasta- 
quouere. Perhaps the finest example is the " Mr. John Masefield," 
towering like Gulliver, in his fastidious melancholy sympathy, 
over the roofs of the slum, from the lips of whose denizens he is 
so gravely noting down swear- words for future use. This is Mr. 
Beerbohm's strength as an apologist (conscious or unconscious), 
that in the act of giving his man away with both hands, making 
every point against him, and surrendering all his weak places to 
the Comic Spirit, he yet leaves him a great creature. 

His technical equipment is a curious mixture. There is, of 
course, a negligible sense in which he is no draughtsman. He 
does not, perhaps cannot, and probably does not care to make his 
figures stand on their feet or sit in their chairs ; yet he is a master 
of expressive line. Sometimes his composition seems haphazard : 
sometimes every touch falls into its place in a monumental design. 
Sometimes his colour is neither here nor there ; but occasionally, 
as in the buffs and crimsons of the *' Count Boni de Castellan e " 
it flowers into such a harmony that one almost overlooks the 
comic quality of the drawing. 

A word must be said of the perfect style of his titles and legends 
— the little imperishable niggles at the bottom of the pictures. 


The Blue Review 

" Amurath and Amurazzle," for Mr. Balfour and Mr. Bonar Law, 

is perhaps the wittiest where all are witty. But wherever there is a 
tone to be caught, Mr. Beerbohm catches it and fixes it in a sen- 
tence ; as in the words from a Nobleman's Memoirs, which the 
Industrious Anonyma, a gaunt bespectacled spinster, is dictating, 
in the most purely and deliciously ludicrous of the drawings, to a 
slightly bewildered typist : " / saw a good lot of the Prince of Wales 
— afterwards Edward VII.— in those days, and I must say that a 
better sportsman — and, I may add, a better pal— never stepped in 
shoe-leather. I remember once after I had been having rather a rotten 
day at Newmarket he came up to me and, slapping me on the back, 
said, etc., etc." 

Independants and the Cubist Muddle By O. RAYMOND DREY 

THIS year's Salon des Independants, in so far as it counts at all, 
is a " Cubist " Salon. In an exhibition which stretches nearly to 
the horizon, where anyone may send his pictures without fear of 
rejection, for there is no jury, and where apparently everyone 
does, the critic may reasonably hope to meet with adventures. 
Somewhere amid the jostle of fashionable, glossy efficiency and 
crude or glossy incompetence he may light haphazard on a lure 
beckoning to unknown delights. Somewhere in the ruck may be 
the choice encounter of a lifetime. 

For lack of such rare stimulus (perhaps my persistence in the 
teeming rooms was not equal to my opportunity) I am forced to the 
consideration of the word " Cubism." It is a slushy term enough 
as it is used to-day. Probably it was never very finely intentioned. 
The public clamours for a name, and painters or writers think 
they have to find one. This labelling is always the price that 
artists have to pay for recognition, whether they seek it or not. The 
public likes a school because it finds certainty in numbers ; there is 
no comfort in the lonely man who paints without a name. 


Independants and the Cubist Muddle 

It is all very well to call certain painters " Cubists " if you are 
content not to think any more about them after you have agreed 
on the title. Of course the majority of cultivated people who walk 
out of picture galleries to talk about art are quite content. Simpler 
people, on the other hand, who walk into picture galleries to enjoy 
the sight of pictures are either driven away abashed by the name 
they know they cannot understand, worried into hostility to the 
artists, or set humbly to the solving of insoluble riddles. 

When a number of painters were labelled " Impressionists " 
less harm was done. " Impressionism " is an abstract term : it is 
tolerably elastic. The " Glasgow School " had some connection 
with Glasgow. " Pre-Raphaelitism," silly term though it was, 
certainly implied reaction. And " Post-Impressionism," with a 
little licence, is a matter of dates ; whoever chooses may think so, 
at any rate. 

But what does this title <( Cubism " mean, which we hear 
applied so indiscriminately alike to Picasso or Braque and Le 
Fauconnier ; to Metzinger or Gleizes and to Delaunay (" Orphist" 
will not stick to him long) ; to Marchand or de la Fresnaye and to 
L'Hote ; to Picart-LeDoux and to Herbin ? I might add more 
contrasting names to my list, but there is no need. 

Are we to say that a " Cubist " is a man who paints in cubes ? 
A technical similarity in the means used by all these men at one 
time or another to express the volume of objects by outlining their 
planes is a poor excuse for a frivolously superficial definition. 
When the question is asked what these painters are expressing or 
trying to express it will be found that no general designation will 
fit them all ; that if definitions or titles are wanted the painters 
will have to be taken separately or in groups of twos and threes, 
with a title for each individual or little group. Such refinement of 
definition would only make confusion worse confounded. 

But rigid definition apart, some sort of philosophic division is 
necessary if " Cubist " work is to be understood at all. I would 
consider all the " Cubist " exhibitors in the Independants in 


The Blue Review 

relation to Picasso, who has no pictures in the Salon, but who is, to 
my mind, the one man who, sacrificing all thought of representa- 
tion, of actuality, has achieved a real intensity of expression and 
found a new way to our emotions, to our capacity for response. 
One's personal relation to a picture is, after all, the only standard 
of criticism that has any value. In other words, there are as many 
standards of criticism as there are critics. 

Picasso, then, has come from contemplation of form and sub- 
stance to an abstract rhythmic statement that is new in paint but 
old in music. Rhythmic statement is not new in paint. Rhythmic 
statement independent of concrete representation, abstract 
rhythmic statement, is. The difficulty that most people find with 
Picasso is due to this : that never before has painting appealed 
directly to the emotions without enlisting the aid of the intellect. 
People complain when music becomes representative, realistic. It 
is no longer music, we are told. Yet who can say what music is, or 
what is painting ? It is a poor game to try to confine the human 
spirit, to temper creation, to put our own blinkers on the visionary. 

The " Cubists " in the Salon des Independants are all, by vari- 
ous means, concerned with seizing and interpreting actuality : 
space, the play of light on surfaces, the interplay of colour, signi- 
ficant movement. Their failure or success depends both on the 
measure of intensity with which they are able to invest the new 
and arbitrary life on their canvasses, and on the quality of that 
intensity. In the work of M. Gleizes and M. Metzinger, well 
patterned though it is, I cannot perceive that life has become a 
fuller thing through paint. M, Delaunay's big picture " L'Equipe 
de Cardiff F.C." embodies everything which I have credited these 
" Cubists " with seeking. It is intense, but the intensity is that 
of Severini's " Cafe Monico." It is perfectly realistic, flooded 
with light and air and dancing with movement. The photograph 
is the lowest denominator of human vision. M. Delaunay seems to 
have perfected the camera. Well, it takes a clever man to do that ! 



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